Taiwan Communication Survey
The Taiwan Communication Survey (TCS) is a long-term project that surveys representative samples of people in Taiwan annually. Supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology in Taiwan, the TCS explores changes in Taiwanese media use. The project not only collects information about basic media use, but also designs new modules to investigate different communication research questions every year. Using rigorous sampling methods, the survey interviews about 2,000 people in Taiwan annually to investigate how they consume media, providing the only instant and representative survey of this kind in Taiwan.
The work of surveying the general population’s media consumption in Taiwan began in 1984, when the National Science Council assigned the Taiwan Social Change Survey Project to Academia Sinica, which formed a “mass communication group” to carry out island-wide surveys once every five years. With the advent of new technology and the changing global media environment, the “mass communication group” officially was spun off from the Taiwan Social Change Survey Project and became an independent project known as the Taiwan Communication Survey, or TCS. Scholars from related fields were gathered to form a committee, and surveys were conducted annually instead of once every five years so as to better observe the general population’s media consumption behavior and to make the data more instant and representative.
To better understand how technological development affects and changes media consumption behavior, the Taiwan Communication Survey not only conducts annual surveys on media consumption behavior, but also focuses on different sub-topics each year. With these long-term studies, the survey can create a more comprehensive and thematic database, helping researchers analyze and theorize Taiwan’s current situation and future trends, as well as providing the government with a basis to formulate future communication-related policies.
The Taiwan Communication Survey Project, carried out by a committee of communication scholars, includes an eight-year study (from 2012 to 2019) during its first phase, and each year the study focuses on a different sub-topic.
The first sub-topic of the first phase (2012) was a comprehensive survey on mass communication behaviors, targeting news, advertisements, politics, public health and consumption. At the same time, the study also explored the general population’s interpersonal interactions and interpersonal mobilizations in this age of new media. The survey lasted from July to September 2012, and the data were released in July 2013.
The second sub-topic of the first phase (2013) focused on the Internet, investigating the general population’s Internet usage and behavior, especially with regard to social networking sites, dual media, digital entertainment, e-commerce, online curation, and Internet literacy. Furthermore, the study utilized network detection software to objectively observe web users’ online behavior. The survey was carried out from July to September 2013, and the data were released in July 2014.
The third sub-topic of the first phase (2014) was centered on entertainment and entertainment-related media behavior. As minors constitute a large part of the population that uses entertainment media, the age limit for the respondents in this part of the study was lowered to nine, and two separate versions were prepared for the adults and minors. The survey was carried out from July to September 2014, and the data were released in September 2015.
The fourth sub-topic of the first phase (2015) focused on political communication behaviors, political and electoral opinions, attitudes and cognition, and political and electoral behaviors. The survey lasted from July to September 2015, and the data were released in July 2016.
The fifth sub-topic of the first phase (2016) focused on risk and disaster communication behaviors, risk and disaster attitudes and cognition, and risk and disaster behaviors. The survey lasted from July to September 2016, and the data were released in July 2017.
The sixth sub-topic of the second phase (2017) focused on the utility of new media (e.g., social interaction, information access, and entertainment) and impacts of Internet use (e.g., addiction, cyberbullying and problematic use). The survey was carried out from July to September 2017, and the data were released in July 2018.
The seventh sub-topic of the second phase (2018) focused on media uses and their implications for people's engagement with society, including how people use media to explore, get involved and connect with society. The survey was carried out from July to October 2018, and the data were released in July 2019.
The eighth sub-topic of the second phase (2019) was the panel survey of 2017, focusing on utility of new media .The survey was carried out from July to October 2019, and the data will be released in July 2020.
In terms of respondent sampling, the population of concern includes Republic of China citizens in Taiwan over the age of 18; Taiwan’s census data are used as the sampling frame, and probability-proportional-to-size (PPS) sampling is employed as the sampling method.
In terms of the surveying process, interviews are conducted by a well-trained survey team, led by professors with years of experience in the field. First, all supervisory staff members undergo training on work responsibilities and content. Interviewers also receive training on interviewing techniques as well as other things to bear in mind. The training emphasizes questionnaire reading and interview practices, so that interviewers can familiarize themselves with the questionnaires and be prepared for different situations during live interviews. Trial interviews are conducted prior to the real survey to identify potential problems, and evaluations are made to revise the questionnaires and fix any issues. Thus, the quality of the interviewers is ensured for this survey, and the credibility of this survey is also optimized in the process.