Survey measures of web-oriented digital literacy

Eszter Hargittai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

299 Scopus citations


This article presents survey measures of web-oriented digital literacy to serve as proxies for observed skill measures, which are much more expensive and difficult to collect for large samples. Findings are based on a study that examined users' digital literacy through both observations and survey questions, making it possible to check the validity of survey proxy measures. These analyses yield a set of recommendations for what measures work well as survey proxies of people's observed web-use skills. Some of these survey measures were administered on the General Social Survey 2000 and 2002 Internet modules, making the findings relevant for the use of existing large-scale national data sets. Results suggest that some composite variables of survey knowledge items are better predictors of people's actual digital literacy based on performance tests than are measures of users' self-perceived abilities, a proxy traditionally used in the literature on the topic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-379
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science Computer Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • Digital literacy
  • Internet
  • Measures
  • Methods
  • Online behavior
  • Skill
  • Surveys
  • Web use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law


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