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The Dynamics of Information Search Queries about COVID-19 at the Self-Isolation Stage 181
Objective. Studying the dynamics of information search queries in the situation of experiencing an objective global threat-the spread of COVID-19. Background. The pandemic situation is specific because of its universality, uncertain duration and weak predictability of disease manifestations, which suggests the cumulative nature of this stressor. The uniqueness of its socio-psychological consequences is determined by the experience of self-isolation in a virtual space. The dynamics of search queries in large random samples may reflect both the reaction of the population to the statements of power subjects, and the presence of certain mechanisms of emotional self-regulation. Study design. We analyzed search queries thematically related to the spread of COVID-19 and the introduction of self-isolation mode: 5 million search queries were randomly selected from the database, 1 million for each of the analyzed time intervals. Participants. The study was conducted on users of the Yandex search engine. Methods. Quantitative methods of the Data Mining class were used for data collection. Qualitative methods of the Data Mining class and contextual analysis were used for data analysis. Microsoft Excel tools were used for statistical code processing. Results. The number of information requests on the topic of the pandemic increased sharply after V. Putin’s first address, and then steadily decreased, but the overall picture of the content dynamics of search queries, depending on official statements of the authorities, was not observed; requests about the current level of morbidity are constantly presented to the greatest extent, and to the minimum-about the possibilities of psychological assistance and the state of the Russian economy. During the whole time of the study the contents of the Internet search shifted towards positive emotional information. Conclusions. To the maximum extent, the relationship between the experience of a pandemic and self-isolation with the nature of search queries manifests itself at the initial stages and tends to decrease in the future. The dynamics of the content of requests is ambiguously related to official statements of power subjects, influenced by the effect of counter-regulation.
Keywords: pandemic, COVID-19, global threat, search information query, affective states, conterregulation
Column: Empirical Research
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