January 14, 2009

Adults and Social Network Websites

About Us, Methodology

About the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project

The Pew Internet Project is an initiative of the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit “fact tank” that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. The Pew Internet Project explores the impact of the internet on children, families, communities, the work place, schools, health care and civic/political life.  The Project is nonpartisan and takes no position on policy issues. Support for the project is provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Methodology

This report is based on the findings of two daily tracking survey on Americans’ use of the Internet. The bulk of the results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between April 8 to May 11, 2008, among a sample of 2,251 adults, 18 and older.  For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.  For results based Internet users (n=1,553), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.8 percentage points. Some 328 respondents in the May survey were social network users and the margin of error in that sub sample is plus or minus 6 percentage points. The data on overall use of social networks and the demographics of social network users came from a national phone survey fielded from November 19 to December 20, 2008 among 2,253 Americans, including 1,650 internet users. The margin of error in that sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points for internet users.  In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting telephone surveys may introduce some error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.