April 7, 2017, by Stuart Moran

Surveying Traditional and Digital Consumption of Fake News

The Digital Research Team are facilitating a collaboration between the Schools of Sociology and Social Policy, and Computer Science. The team, led by Christian Karner and Martin Flintham, are looking to apply sociological research methods to explore fake news in social media.

Following a detailed literature review, the team are moving forward with the first stage of data collection using an online survey. The aim is to elicit information about how people consume news through traditional methods (such as TV news) and social media.

Existing research (Holbert et al. 2003) has noted that parodies may hold a very close relationship to more traditional types of news, and these may have a powerful influence on users. As such establishing users’ attitudes towards traditional platforms is a key antecedent to understanding how digitally consumed news affects people’s behaviours. Hence making this an ideal research topic for the interdisciplinary team to study; applying a deep understanding of established societal behaviours within a complex and fast changing digital context.

Some of the broad research questions the team are looking to answer are:

  • How is news consumed?
  • To what extent is news consumed through social media?
  • How do social media users interact with news accessed through their social media?

The survey will be shared through various social media channels and email mailing lists. We will look to update you on some of the insights from the survey and the planned next steps.

Previous blog in series: Classifying and verifying fake news in social media

Next blog in series: Use of affordable eye tracking in news verification strategies

Stuart Moran, Digital Research Specialist for Social Sciences



Holbert, R L., Pillion, O., Tschida, D A., Armfield, G G, Kinder, K., Cherry, K L & Daulton, A R (2003).  ‘The West Wing as Endorsement of the U.S. Presidency: Expanding the Bounds of Priming in Political Communication’, Journal of Communication, Vol. 53., Issue. 3., pp427-443. DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2003.tb02600.x

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