Seal of the Department of Defense Methodology

Introduction Abstract Problem Statement Literature Review Rationale and Hypotheses You are here Projected Results Discussion Reference List

Procedure and Instrument|Analysis|Results

Participants
    A questionnaire was tested on a group consisting of 10 male and 19 female college-aged students from the University of Oklahoma. Ninety-three percent-27- of the subjects were under the age of 25. The ideal sample for this study is at least 384 subjects to get a 95 percent confidence level with a 5 percent error (Keyton, 2001, p. 127). We broke that sample into five general age categories correlating to the various age groups of people in the United States. We discounted all demographics for people under age 17 because they are not part of the political power base. Racial demographics were split into three major races and a fourth category for people of mixed racial background (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000, p. 12). The demographic was also divided into male and female participants.

    A stratified sample (Refer to Table M-1) was employed for this study. A stratified sample is a probability sample where "criteria are set up to ensure representation of particular groups within the sample proportionate to their numbers in the population (Sommer & Sommer, 1997, p. 239).

Demographic Percentage of
Total Population
Sample
(384 subjects)
White 82.1 315
African American 12.8 49
Asian 4.1 16
Other 1.0 4
Male 48.9 188
Female 51.1 196
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census
Table M-1. Optimum Sample Size: Stratified Sample.

    A stratified sample has the advantage or maintaining the representativeness of the desired variables; it makes it easier to compare variables to other populations, and helps to reduce the sampling error (Wimmer & Dominick, 1991). The disadvantages of the stratified sample are that a prior knowledge of the population is required, taking this course of action can be expensive and time-consuming, it can be difficult to find a sample if incidence is low, and variables that describe the strata may not be present (Wimmer & Dominick, 1991).

    We can discount two of the disadvantages because the U.S. Census Bureau already provides the knowledge of the population. This eliminates prior knowledge and low incidence as factors. Also, time and expense are irrelevant for this study.

Procedure and Instrument
    Participants are asked to fill out and turn in a questionnaire. If their race is not white, black, or Asian then they are considered "other" for the purposes of this study. Examples of television programs have been added into the questionnaire, but it is pointed out to the participant that those are not the only choices of television programs.

    The questionnaire (Appendix A) is made of 24 questions designed to measure the media with the greatest impact on the population. The first section is three questions to determine race, sex, and age demographics. These demographics were chosen because they match the demographics of the U.S. census bureau's annually published statistical abstract of the United States. The four questions in the Section II measure the subject's military affiliation. This will help determine if they have any pre-conceived notions about the military. Section III has five closed questions designed to measure perceptions regarding the military. The first three measure this variable on a five-point Likert scale. This is an advantage over a simple yes-or-no question because it does not force the participant to take a stand on the issue. The last two questions in this group measure how current events affect the subject's perceptions about military service. Section IV measures the impact that different types of media have on the subject. The final section's questions measure how often and what types of media the subject uses the most.

Analysis
    Respondents rated the media outlet which they perceive as the best for gaining information regarding the military and which media outlet they feel has the greatest impact on their opinions on which issue is important to America. More than 48 percent of respondents rated television as the best media outlet for information regarding the military and 76 percent of respondents rated television as having the greatest impact on issue importance. Media usage was manipulated by asking the respondents to determine the time spent per week with each media outlet. Respondents were asked to determine, in minutes, the time spent per week with television, newspapers, magazines, Internet and radio.

    Respondents were also asked to rate their overall perception of the military (M=1.89, α=.05 ) using a five-point Likert scale, ranging from 1 (positive) to 5 (negative). Additionally, respondents were asked to rate their perception of the military prior to Sept. 11, 2001 (M=2, α=.05) using the same Likert scale as in overall perception of the military. An additional five-point Likert scale, ranging from 1 (support) to 5 (oppose), determined support for military actions abroad. See Table M2: Statistics (below). Finally, respondents reported several demographic variables, including race, age, and sex.


Variable Name Variable Mean Std Dev Variance
1
SEX
Sex
1.6552 0.48373 0.23399
2
AGE
Age
1.0690 0.25788 0.06650
3
RACE
Race
1.3103 0.66027 0.43596
4 RACEOTHR N/A N/A N/A N/A
5
MILAFFIL
Military Affiliation
1.6897 0.47082 0.22167
6 RELATION Relationship N/A N/A N/A
7
MILFRNDS
Military friends
1.3200 0.47610 0.22667
8
MIL_SRVC
Prior military service
1.9600 0.20000 0.04000
9
PRCP_OA
Overall aperceptions of military
1.8966 0.97632 0.95320
10
PRCP_911
Perceptions of military before Sept. 11
2.0000 1.13389 1.28571
11
PRCP_EXT
Perceptions of military operations
2.3793 1.04928 1.10099
12
JOIN_911
Consider joining military before Sept. 11
1.8966 0.30993 0.09606
13
JOIN_NOW
Consider joining military now
1.8276 0.38443 0.14778
14
MIL_INFO
Info regarding military
2.3077 1.04954 1.10154
15
BESTINFO
Best info regarding military
1.8214 0.94491 0.89286
16
IMPACT
Media with greatest impact
2.2143 0.83254 0.69312
17
ISSUE
America's most important issue
3.0690 0.52989 0.28079
18
IMPRTNT
Media influence
2.0000 0.78446 0.61538
19
TIMEIMPR
Estimate of time spent with media
2.0690 0.79871 0.63793
20
CABLNEWS
Time-Cable news
51.4815 80.60844 6497.72080
21
NATLNEWS
Time-National news
24.8148 34.64238 1493.23362
22
MORNNEWS
Time-Morning news
46.6667 161.76907 26169.23077
23
LOCLNEWS
Time-Local news
121.2963 322.89136 104258.83190
24
REALITYT
Time-Reality TV
30.0000 41.81000 1748.07690
25
SITCOM
Time-Sitcoms
184.6296 351.38989 123474.86000
26
DRAMA
Time-Drama
36.4815 35.56724 1265.02850
27
ACTION
Time-Action
11.2963 21.73231 472.29345
28
MAGS
Magazines read
0.5714 0.57275 0.32804
29
NEWSP
Time reading newspaper
26.2963 29.59966 876.13960
30
Radio
Time listening to radio
40.8929 33.39033 1114.91400
31
INTERNET
Time on Internet
45.9615 39.64894 1572.03846
32
TV
Time watching TV
142.5833 100.66601 10133.64500
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census
Table M-2: Statistics

Results
    Preliminary analyzation revealed that the frequency for television use as a primary information source is indicative of the ease and accessibility of television. The researchers used the two-tailed t-test to determine correlations between television viewing, perception of the military and the impact television has on the respondents' decisions regarding issue importance.

    As can be seen from the Means, Standard Deviations and Variances of questions 20-32 (except question 28), we had some design problems with the questionnaire. The majority of the subjects did not answer those particular questions in the manner we requested. However, since those variables were more of a check on the results of the main variables we were testing, we can discount them for the time being.

    Hypothesis 1 predicted that media influences public perception of the military. The analysis of test survey participants showed no significant correlation between these factors as Table M-3 shows. Hypothesis 2 predicted that public affairs practitioners could use media-set agendas to cultivate positive perceptions of the military if used successfully. The survey results were inconclusive regarding this hypothesis because there seemed to be no significant correlation between media usage and perception of the military (r=.065, α=.05). This doesn't seem to agree with the data we collected which, overall, indicated a positive shift regarding views of the military after the events of September 11, 2001. Prior to 9/11, 86.2 of the subjects had a neutral, somewhat positive or positive view of the military; after 9/11 that changed to 93.11 percent. Also, 78.6 percent of respondents chose television as the media source having the greatest impact on them, and 69.2 percent named television as the best outlet for information regarding the military. Comparing those two values yielded a higher correlation (r=.327, α=.05).

MIL_INFO BESTINFO IMPACT
PRCP-OA 0.210 0.106 0.065
PRCP-911 0.229 0.034 -0.065
PRCP-EXT n/a 0.327 -0.041
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census
Table M-3. Frequencies: Media Impact vs. Perceptions.

    Although no significant correlation was discovered that supported hypothesis 1 and the results of hypothesis 2 were inconclusive, survey participants supported hypothesis 3 regarding television as the best media outlet for public practitioners to use when publicizing the military.