This study was conducted by DB5 using a 15-minute online survey among two groups:

  1. General social media users (n=1,000) defined as those who used some sort of social media platform at least weekly. These individuals were recruited through an online panel of adults (18 years of age and older) across the U.S. who are nationally representative based on demographics (including age and gender). The 469 non-Twitter users included in this analysis originated from this group (identified through their responses to a question on Twitter usage).
  2. Twitter users (n=3,713) who were prompted directly through Twitter to participate in the survey and confirmed through the survey to be weekly Twitter users. Again, this group included adults (18+) with a mix of men and women. Although the general social media user sample included some who said they used Twitter, the analysis of Twitter users was conducted primarily on this separate sample of 3,713 Twitter users. The initial invitation to participate in the survey specified Twitter usage generally, but not news.

All responses were collected between Nov. 23 and Dec. 15, 2014. Conducting studies on news is always subject to what might be making news at the time of the survey. In this case, events in Ferguson, Missouri were prominent in the media and are reflected in the responses to the survey. The survey was designed to be objective without any particular events in mind; the focus on any particular events is only in the responses and is related to the timing of the study.

The survey instrument was developed by a research team at API that included Tom Rosenstiel, executive director, Jeff Sonderman, deputy director, and Kevin Loker, program manager, and consultant Maria Ivancin.

DB5 consulted fully on the questionnaire, executed the survey and produced the topline: The team at DB5 included Nina Kjarval, strategy director, and Raquel Hamias, brand strategist.

Twitter funded the study but granted API researchers independence to develop the survey questionnaire. DB5 conducted the survey and tabulated results. API analyzed the data and produced this written report.

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