Information Needs and Seeking Behaviour of Voters during Singapore General Election 2015

By Shaheen Majid, Schubert Foo, Hannah Trinity Dumaual and Venkata Ratnadeep Suri, p16-37


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to understand information needs and different communication channels used by voters for seeking election-related news and information. It also explored voters’ perceptions of the credibility, timeliness, and bias of various information communication channels.

Methodology: A questionnaire was used to collect data and 115 individuals who voted in the Singapore general election 2015 participated in the study.

Findings:  It was found that the majority of the voters were interested in information about candidates in their constituencies, their speeches and interviews. Only around one-half of the voters were interested in the manifestos of political parties, and analyses made by political commentators. The top four channels for seeking election-related news and information were: news websites, television, Facebook, and print newspapers. Common social media platforms, such as blogs, Twitter, and YouTube were not heavily used. The mainstream media was considered more credible than social media platforms.

Implications/Value: The findings of this study will be useful to political parties in developing their future election communication strategies. Political commentators, information and communication researchers, and media experts are also likely to benefit from this study by understanding information needs and seeking behaviour of voters.

Originality: Most of the previous studies have only focused on source preference by voters. In addition to this, the present study also investigated specific election-related information needs and the sources used by voters to satisfy these information needs.

Keywords: Information Needs; Information Seeking; Social Media; Newspapers; Television; Information Credibility; General Elections; Singapore