Net Neutrality: A Made for Web Debate Methodology

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This report used several different research methods. Data regarding the volume of terms on Twitter used Crimson Hexagon. Data regarding the terminology used during Google searches and the language used by newspapers were derived by the use of Google Trends and searches of LexisNexis.


The volume of tweets was measured using computer coding software developed by Crimson Hexagon. That software is able to analyze the textual content from millions of posts on social media platforms. Pew Research used Crimson Hexagon’s tool to search for the number of appearances of certain terms. Crimson Hexagon’s sample includes the entire “Firehose” of Twitter feeds. The terms searched for this study were “net neutrality,” “internet neutrality,” and “keystone pipeline.”


Google Searches

The portions of the report that explained how often specific terms were searched for in Google were created using data from Google Trends. The tool indicates the number of web searches for each term relative to the total number of searches on Google. Data have been normalized, and are based on a scale of 0 to 100.

The following phrases were entered into Google Trends to determine the number of searches in the United States only:

  • Net neutrality

Lexis Nexis for Newspaper Articles

The portions of the report that dealt with print newspaper coverage of net neutrality used keyword searches in the LexisNexis database. Researchers searched 23 of the 24 most widely circulated newspapers for the following terms:

  • net neutrality

Newspapers studied in Lexis: The Arizona Republic, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Daily News (New York), The Dallas Morning News, Denver Post, Honolulu Star Advertiser, Houston Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, The New York Times, Newsday (New York), The Orange County Register, The Oregonian, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Plain Dealer, San Jose Mercury News, Star Tribune (Minneapolis), The Star Ledger, Tampa Bay Times, USA Today, The New York Times, and the Washington Post

Note: The Wall Street Journal was not included because its contents are not available in LexisNexis.


The mentions of Net Neutrality were done using a SnapStream server owned and operated by the Pew Research Center. The server records the closed captioning of shows and researchers searched specific weekday news programs to count the number of mentions (see table below for full list of shows).

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