← Volume 9: Algorithms and Communication


What is Algorithm Literacy?

A Conceptualization and Challenges Regarding its Empirical Measurement

Leyla Dogruel

Berlin, 2021
DOI 10.48541/dcr.v9.3 (SSOAR)

Abstract: While communication research has been particularly focused on examining the effects of algorithms on (public) communication processes, less attention has been dedicated to studying media users’ understanding and perceptions of algorithms in online contexts. This contribution provides a first step into studying Internet users’ competences in navigating algorithmically curated environments by proposing a theoretical concept on (lay) Internet users’ algorithm literacy. Based on existing concepts in media literacy research, we present theory-driven dimensions to address algorithm literacy among Internet users. This is complemented by suggestions for an operationalization of these dimensions informed by findings from qualitative interviews with Internet users. As a result, the proposed concept of algorithm literacy comprises two cognitive dimensions, namely awareness & knowledge and the (critical) evaluation of algorithms, and two behavior-related dimensions, addressing individuals’ coping behaviors and abilities for creation and design in terms of the use of algorithms.


Prof. Dr. Leyla Dogruel is assistant professor at the department of communication at Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany

Dogruel, L. (2021). What is Algorithm Literacy? A Conceptualization and Challenges Regarding its Empirical Measurement. In M. Taddicken & C. Schumann (Eds.), Algorithms and Communication (S. 67-93). https://doi.org/10.48541/dcr.v9.3

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