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Motivations for and barriers to Internet usage: results of a national public opinion survey

James Katz (James Katz works at Bellcore in Morristown, New Jersey, USA)
Philip Aspden (Philip Aspden works at the Center for Research on the Information Society in Pennington, New Jersey, USA)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 1 September 1997



Analyzes a national random telephone survey, carried out in October 1995, on the motivations for and barriers to Internet usage. Eight percent of the random sample reported being Internet users, while surprisingly another 8 percent reported being former users. In total, 85 percent of respondents reported having heard of the Internet. The survey showed evidence of a digital divide, Internet users being generally wealthier and more highly educated, and blacks and Hispanics disproportionately unaware of the Internet. Social and work networks appear to be important for stimulating interest in the Internet and providing users with support. As to reasons for using the Internet, socio‐personal development appears to be the key driver, while nonusers have a decidedly different set of beliefs about the Internet’s value. As to the barriers to Internet usage, even experienced users find it difficult to get started, which confirms other studies of this topic. Barriers include cost and difficulties in understanding how to use the Internet. Concludes that the results of the survey indicate that people strongly desire an easier‐to‐use Internet.



Katz, J. and Aspden, P. (1997), "Motivations for and barriers to Internet usage: results of a national public opinion survey", Internet Research, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 170-188.




Copyright © 1997, Company

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