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The development and psychometric testing of the expressive and instrumental Online Neighborhood Network Uses Scale (ONNUS)

Jonas De Meulenaere, Bastiaan Baccarne, Cédric Courtois, Koen Ponnet

Abstract: The current study presents an instrument to measure online neighborhood network (ONN) uses from a social capital perspective. Prior studies have provided tentative evidence that ONNs, developed on social media platforms, can be a means for residents to develop social capital. However, to investigate this claim, a quantitative measurement instrument tailored to group- instead of ego-centered networks, is necessary yet currently lacking. A multi-phase method was applied to develop and test the psychometric properties of our instrument. Drawing upon existing literature, we conceptualized two types of ONN uses: expressive and instrumental uses. Both constructs were subsequently operationalized in a series of research steps. The construct validity (both exploratory and confirmatory), criterion and theoretical validity, and internal consistency of the instrument were tested on a sample of ONN users (n = 668) in Flanders (Belgium). The findings showed that the designed instrument is valid and reliable for assessing ONN uses. As such, the means are provided for investigating the role of ONNs in neighborhood relationship and social capital development, discern between different types of ONN users, and to assess the quality of ONNs with respect to the neighborhood's social life from a policy perspective.
Keywords: ONN / social capital / online / neighborhood / psychometric / instrumental / validity

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