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Comunicar Journal 77: New languages and cultures. Teaching languages for global and digital communication (Vol. 31 - 2023)

Using YouTube to seek answers and make decisions: Implications for Australian adult media and information literacy


Tanya Notley

Michael Dezuanni

Simon Chambers

Sora Park


This article argues that it is necessary to develop new approaches to media and information literacy (MIL) education to respond to information seeking on YouTube. The article draws on data from a survey of adult Australians (N=3,510), focusing on their media literacy attitudes, experiences, and needs. A subset of this data focuses on respondents who use YouTube to seek information for a purpose. The article interrogates the data to ask who uses YouTube to access information when they need to make a decision; how these adults’ critical dispositions compare to people who do not use YouTube to seek information; and what level of media ability they have compared to other groups. A total of 45% of adult Australians had used YouTube to seek information and make a decision in the month prior to completing the survey. While this group shared a critical disposition towards media and information, they lacked confidence in their own media abilities. We argue that it is necessary to develop new MIL approaches to assist this group. In addition, we argue that this group is more likely to respond to MIL initiatives that are available on YouTube itself and are unlikely to seek MIL learning in community institutions like libraries or community centres.


YouTube, media and information literacy, information literacy, information seeking, social media, adult education

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