September 1, 2001

The Internet and Education

Methodology

Data on Youth and Parents

These data come from a special survey of 754 children, ages 12 to 17, who use the Internet and one of their parents or guardians (total of 1,508 persons interviewed) and was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates between November 2, 2000 and December 15, 2000. For results based on this survey, the margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Interviews for this survey were conducted among Internet households with a child age 12 to 17 that completed a Tracking interview with the Pew Internet & American Life Project some time during 2000. The Tracking polling was done in the continental United States and yielded a representative sample of the adult population of the United States. The callback survey was of those who had told us they had children with Internet access. Households were called back to determine eligibility. Once a household was deemed eligible, both a parent and a randomly selected child completed an interview. Some families could not be reached for the callback portion of the survey; others did not wish to participate. Thus, this sample cannot be considered a fully representative sample of the online U.S. teenage population. The final data were not weighted.

Throughout this report, the survey results are used to estimate the approximate number of Americans, in millions, who engage in Internet activities. These figures are derived from the Census Bureau’s estimates of the number of adults living in telephone households in the continental United States. As with all survey results, these figures are estimates. Any given figure could be somewhat larger or smaller, given the margin of sampling error associated with the survey results used in deriving these figures.

Group discussions

This report also contains quotes from teenagers who participated in an online discussion group facilitated by Greenfield Online. The panelists were drawn from Greenfield’s panel of Internet users. The group discussion was conducted from February 12 to 16 online, in a moderated, threaded discussion format in which participants were asked to respond to questions from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, queries from the moderator, as well as the responses of other members of the group. The “Mindstorm”® group discussion lasted for five days and had 21 respondents who completed all five days. The group was made up of 11 females and 10 males, and ages ranged from 13 to 17. Participants in the Greenfield Mindstorm were offered a cash incentive to participate. For both group discussions, parents and children were informed of the nature of the research. All identifying information has been removed from the comments from teens from both group discussions.

Special thanks to Susan Roth, Director, Qualitative Research; Yan Saquansataya, Manager, Qualitative Operations; Siobhan Duffy, Qualitative Project Manager; and Gail Janensch, Vice President of Corporate Communications.

About the Pew Internet & American Life Project

The Pew Internet & American Life Project creates and funds original, academic-quality research that explores the impact of the Internet on children, families, communities, the work place, schools, health care, and civic/political life. The Project is an independent, nonpartisan organization that aims to be an authoritative source for timely information on the Internet’s growth and societal impact. The Project is a non-profit initiative affiliated with the Pew Research Center for People and the Press. The project is fully funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.