A Logistic Multilevel Model for Studying Civic Engagement and Community Group Impact in the Digital Age

Stephen W. Kleinschmit, Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne
Byoung J. Kim, IPFW


Prior research has demonstrated that a citizens' socioeconomic status is a significant determinant of the extent of citizen involvement via ICT [18]. Others have focused on its impact on civic engagement in terms of community group impacts, finding that such groups play an important role in increasing citizen involvement within democratic processes [8]. Thus, previous research has examined effects aggregated at the 'individual level' and 'group level,' respectively. This paper seeks to reconcile these levels in order to assess the impact of ICT on civic engagement. Our study examines the interplay of individual level and community group level factors through analysis of the data from a household survey (N=717) taken in Blacksburg, Virginia in 2005. This study identifies the idiosyncratic influences at both levels by applying a multilevel model (specifically, a logistic hierarchical linear model). In particular, we verify the positive impact of community groups utilizing ICT in increasing civic engagement. This research will be used to form the basis of a comparative study of civic engagement through eGovernment portals, mobile technology and social media, and to assess their impact on facilitating group communication and sensemaking.


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