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Research by DIS student receives widespread recognition

January 31, 2011

Research conducted by a DIS student has been recognised by The Baptist Times and the British Religion in Numbers. Sara Batts, a 3rd year part-time PhD student in the Department of Information Science, is investigating the development of English Christian churches’ online presence and the rise of social media. 

 As part of her research, she has been looking at how churches in the UK are taking advantage of the internet and web 2.0 technologies, and after two years, she has discovered that the number of churches with a searchable website has increased considerably.

 At the start of her research in January 2009, she discovered that 41 percent of her random sample of 400 churches had a searchable website, with the majority of websites (57 percent) belonging to Baptist churches. Sara then discovered two years later, an increase in the number of churches with searchable websites from 41 to 66 percent, with Baptist churches leading the way again with 84 percent having a searchable website.

 Her findings have received widespread recognition across the country, particularly from The Baptist Times, who decided to write an article on her work and the British Religion in Numbers, who have asked her to write a blog post on her project.

 Speaking to The Baptist Times, Sara provided possible explanations for her results. “Either many have a website that wasn’t there two years ago, or those that do are getting better at their search optimisation – making sure they are recognised in a Google search. If you can’t find it via Google, it might just as well not be there.”

 Sara is now investigating how churches choose what to say about themselves; who makes those decisions, and the purposes that churches want their sites to fulfil.

Follow Sara’s progress on her blog at: http://bit.ly/Batts 

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