Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Information Science

Content Description

1 online resource (xii, 241 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Jennifer Stromer-Galley

Committee Members

Deborah L Andersen, Mihye Seo


customization, democratic society, filtering, fragmentation, Internet, political communication, Political science, Internet in political campaigns, Political participation, Web sites

Subject Categories

Communication | Library and Information Science | Political Science


Internet technology has provided people with unprecedented abilities to filter the information they encounter, leading many scholars to fear that people will be exposed to less diversity of perspectives and fragment into homogeneous interest groups. Exposure to a wide range of topics and perspectives about political information in particular is considered necessary by many scholars in order for citizens to be informed participants in democratic life. However, fears that the Internet leads to fragmentation rest on three assumptions: 1. online, opportunities for unintended encounters with a diversity of information are limited, 2. people primarily pursue narrow interests when consuming online content, and 3. narrow pursuit of interests leads to less informed citizens. This dissertation examined political information online to provide empirical data that tested these assumptions.