Situational characteristics of informational behaviour during the COVID-19 lockdown : results of a survey

Objective: The health crisis caused by COVID-19 has highlighted the key role of information in situations that require adaptation to new and potentially dangerous circumstances. The objective of this study is to trace the information behaviour of a sample of people residing in Spain during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Methodology: During the final week of the strictest period of lockdown, a self-administered survey emphasizing issues regarding work, family, and health was completed by 95 participants. They were asked about their reasons for using traditional and social media, the use they made of information from institutions, the characteristics of the information they considered useful, different dimensions of their information behaviour during lockdown, and the impact of lockdown on their information consumption.

Results: The results suggest that respondents used traditional media mainly to understand the epidemic and to learn how to protect themselves, and made more use of social media for entertainment; social media allowed a certain level of participation, though onlyamong somerespondents. A quarter of the sample did not use official information provided by the institutions at any time, while a similar percentage did so through more informal channels such as the telephone and social networks. Information from authorized sources was valued as more useful. The vast majority of the respondents felt an obligation to keep up-to-date with events and consumed more information than usual.