Application of an Integral Methodological Approach to Measuring the Dynamics of the Basic Digital Divide


  • Vesna Dolničar University of Ljubljana



digital divide, dynamics, ICT diffusion, statistics


The paper illustrates that, when analysing the dynamics of the digital divide, the answer to the seemingly simple question ‘Is the digital divide increasing, decreasing, or is it constant?’ is not straightforward. An integral methodological tool that comprehensively addresses this question will be introduced. This methodological approach is based on the assumption that none of the existing statistical measures truly communicates the essence of a certain digital divide phenomenon (absolute measures, relative measures and S-time-distance are considered). In addition, even the simultaneous reporting of all three measures is insufficient. To monitor and interpret the dynamics of the digital divide it is therefore very important to explicitly take into account future scenarios of ICT diffusion among the observed subjects (e.g. population segments, countries…). We have developed these scenarios within the broad framework of the diffusion theory (Rogers, 1962, 2003), but with a distance from two of its implicit assumptions related to the deterministic conceptualisation of the diffusion process: the form of the diffusion function and the anticipated level of the final penetration rate. It is argued that the proper measure can only be provided if we anticipate and take into account the full distribution functions of the compared subjects or population segments and the location of the subject at a certain point in time.

Author Biography

Vesna Dolničar, University of Ljubljana

Vesna Dolničar is a lecturer and a researcher at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana. She is pedagogically engaged in several courses (e.g. Survey Methodology, Survey Research Techniques, Practical Training in Research Methodology, Project Management, Internet in Everyday Life). She has been actively involved in preparing and conducting several national and international projects related to the field of social informatics and methodology either as a partner, national correspondent or an individual expert. Her main research interests are monitoring the information society and studying the (non)acceptance of the ICTs among older individuals. She is currently in charge of the 6th Framework Programme project SOPRANO and a member of the Management Committee (MC) of the Action COST 298 She is also an associate editor of the international journal Observatorio and a reviewer for The Information Society, the Journal of Official Statistics, the European Sociological Review, and the International Journal of Internet Science.


How to Cite

Dolničar, V. (2008). Application of an Integral Methodological Approach to Measuring the Dynamics of the Basic Digital Divide. Observatorio (OBS*), 2(1).