Search, seek, share: A national survey assessing Americans’ information channels and sharing behaviors during a pandemic




Extension, communication, COVID-19, public health, agriculture


The spread of accurate and inaccurate information happened quickly in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and understanding how this occurred is important to prepare for communication of future disease outbreaks. The purpose of this study was to understand Americans’ information seeking and sharing behaviors during the early stages of COVID-19 and was guided by the following objectives: identify passive sources/channels of information; identify active sources/channels of information; and describe how frequently and across which channels/sources the U.S. public shared information about COVID-19 in early stages of the pandemic. Results indicated people first found information about COVID-19 from personal communication but turned to national and international organizations if they were to actively seek information. Scientists and universities were some of the least sought after and shared sources of information. The sources shared most were from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. Implications from this research are a need for communicators to use grassroots communication efforts during a crisis, to actively share information early during a crisis, to share information outside of traditional academic networks, and to collaborate with sources inside and outside of traditional Extension networks.


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How to Cite

Baker, L., McLeod-Morin, A., Rampold, S., Lindsey, A., Telg, R., & Ogelsby, M. (2022). Search, seek, share: A national survey assessing Americans’ information channels and sharing behaviors during a pandemic. Advancements in Agricultural Development, 3(2), 62–74.




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