Internet information-seeking and its relation to support for access to government records

David Cuillier, Suzanne J. Piotrowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


Public access to government records is essential for democratic self-governance, and attitudes toward that right can facilitate or hinder public policy regarding transparency. As more people use the internet for gathering information about their governments and communities, it is unknown whether such online information-seeking is related to increased support for government transparency and the right to request public records. This paper applies a uses and gratification theory approach to examine internet information use and its relation to support for citizen and press access to government records. Three U.S. studies examined media-use correlates with support for government transparency: a paper questionnaire survey of college students (N = 614), an online survey (N = 1819), and a random-digit-dial telephone survey of randomly selected U.S. adults (N = 403). Analyses indicated varying results for television and newspaper use, but in all three datasets reliance on the internet for information was positively associated with support for access to public records. Implications for government transparency in a society increasingly reliant on the internet for information are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-449
Number of pages9
JournalGovernment Information Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Access to public records
  • Freedom of information
  • Government transparency
  • Internet use
  • Online
  • Uses and gratification theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law


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