Development and validation of the Internet Skills Scale (ISS)

Alexander Johannes Aloysius Maria van Deursen, Ellen J. Helsper, Rebecca Eynon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

198 Citations (Scopus)


Although a number of instruments have been used to measure Internet skills in nationally representative surveys, there are several challenges with the measures available: incompleteness and over-simplification, conceptual ambiguity, and the use of self-reports. Here, we aim to overcome these challenges by developing a set of reliable measures for use in research, practice, and policy evaluations based on a strong conceptual framework. To achieve this goal, we carried out a literature review of skills-related studies to develop the initial Internet skills framework and associated instrument. After the development of this instrument, we used a three-fold approach to test the validity and reliability of the latent skill constructs and the corresponding items. The first step consisted of cognitive interviews held in both the UK and the Netherlands. Based on the cognitive interview results, we made several amendments to the proposed skill items to improve clarity. The second step consisted of a pilot survey of digital skills, both in the UK and in the Netherlands. During the final step, we examined the consistency of the five Internet skill scales and their characteristics when measured in a representative sample survey of Dutch Internet users. The result is a theoretical, empirically and cross-nationally consistent instrument consisting of five types of Internet skills: operational, navigation information, social, creative, and mobile.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)804-823
JournalInformation, communication and society
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2016
Event16th Annual Conference of the Association-of-Internet-Researchers - Phoenix, United States
Duration: 21 Oct 201524 Oct 2015
Conference number: 16th


  • METIS-311331
  • IR-96965


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