Participants in this study were undergraduate students (N = 42) from the University of Oklahoma. Students were volunteers from classes within the communication department. The undergraduates received five extra credit points for completing the survey. Students were female (n = 22) and male (n = 20). Demographic information such as national origin, racial and ethnic designation was not recorded. The average age indicated for respondents was between 18 and 24 years old.
The study used a 15-question survey as the primary instrument (see Appendix A). Survey questions included Likert-type and semantic differential scale questions. The survey included demographic questions asking gender and age. It also asked students if they had any previous experience with the military, if either of their parents or primary caregivers are currently in the military, if either of their parents or primary caregivers had ever served in the military during the participant's lifetime, and if they have friends or family currently serving in the military.
The survey also asked if they were planning or considering joining the military, and whether or not their attitude about the military had changed in the past 5 years. If an attitudinal change about the military occurred, participants were asked to list what caused the change. Other questions dealt with how they would characterize people serving the military, whether they enjoyed movies with a military theme, select the movies they have seen with a military theme, and how realistic they thought the movies portrayed people and life in the military. Rounding out the survey were questions asking whether or not participants enjoyed movies with a military theme and whether they thought the military was corrupt based on what was portrayed in the movies.
Instructors from the communication department assisted with the study. They informed students about the survey. The majority (n = 40) of participants One class of 40 students completed the study at one time. Students were told the survey was to be used by the graduate students attending the Department of Defense Joint Course in Communication class who were studying how people form their opinions about the U.S. Armed Forces. Students completed the surveys in about 10 minutes.
This pilot study was survey-research based. A survey was used to have participants recall their attitudes and opinions about the military through a 15-question survey. The survey was used as the primary instrument to discover if movies with a military theme do influence people's opinions about the military.
Two methods were used to analyze the data. Descriptive statistics were used to get an overall understanding of people's opinion of the military, and how realistic they thought movies with a military theme portrayed people and life in the military. Pearson correlation tests were used to determine a correlation between the characteristics study participants associate with military people and how realistic study participants believe the movies with a military theme are, their enjoyment of military-themed movies, and whether or not they felt the military was corrupt based on what they saw in the movies.