Development and validation of an algorithm literacy scale for internet users

Leyla Dogruel, Philipp Masur, Sven Joeckel

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In light of the widespread use of big data analytics, internet users are increasingly confronted with algorithmic decision-making. Developing algorithm literacy is thus crucial to empower users to successfully navigate digital environments. In this paper, we present the development and validation of an algorithm literacy scale that consists of two interrelated dimensions: 1) awareness of algorithms use and 2) knowledge about algorithms. To validate the scale, we use item response theory and report findings from two studies. In study 1, we tested 46 items among N = 331 participants, resulting in a 32-item pool. These items were tested in a second study among N = 1,041 German internet users. The final scale consists of each 11 items measuring algorithm awareness and knowledge. Both subscales correlated positively with participants’ subjective coding skills and proved to be an appropriate predictor for participants’ handling of algorithmic curation in three test-scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-133
Number of pages19
JournalCommunication Methods and Measures
Issue number2
Early online date13 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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