This project sought to reveal the relationship between Air Force members and the use of various mass media products. Our hypothesis was that high and low involved receivers would use different media sources based on their informational needs. Higher involved receivers would seek out more informational-specific sources. Lower involved receivers would seek out less specific and more entertainment-based sources. The researchers focused on three sub-areas of Air Force culture; policy issues, installation issues, and family service issues.

In order to conduct this research, three surveys were created. These surveys were executed by Dr. Stephen Everett of Headquarters, U.S. Air Force and were distributed to a random sample of Air Force members worldwide via e-mail. The e-mail contained a link to an Air Force Web Site, and one of the three surveys was selected at random. The response rate was XXX. The surveys asked 38 questions in the three sub-areas.

They began by asking Air Force members to categorize each of the sub-areas, policy issues, base installation issues and family service issues. Four 7-interval bipolar adjective pairs were used in this portion of the survey: unimportant-important; of no concern-of much concern; irrelevant- relevant; and insignificant- significant. The involvement measure is an adaptation of Zaichkowsky’s (1985) issue involvement instrument, which has received excellent reliability ratings in past research (Pfau, Holbert, Zubric, Pasha & Lin, 2000).

The next three areas on the survey focus on a group of ten communication forms / venues. Respondents were asked to rate each venue in terms of use and credibility using 10-point scales. Use has been a problematic measure in past studies. Researching media in terms of exposure or frequency alone is inadequate (McLeod & McDonald, 1985). Chaffee and Schleuder explained, “exposure to news media has traditionally been the focus of survey research related to public affairs” (Chaffee and Schleuder, 1986, p. 78). Thus, the use measure combined exposure and attention.

The question of source usage, was posed first, i.e. 1=very rarely to 10=very frequently. The second area of the survey measures attention paid to the list of ten media sources using the following scale: 1=very little attention to 10= very much attention).

Media use by receivers in this research will be based on a number of factors such as education, time in the Air Force, and the receiver’s informational needs. There are a number of ways to categorize media usage. Exposure refers to how often (frequency) a specific media is consumed. Preference can be defined as the selection of one or more media as a favorite option for information or entertainment. Reliance could be defined as a measurement of the extent to which a receiver uses one or more media versus other available media for information or entertainment. Attention refers to the concentration of perception during message processing. Attention can also be used to refer to the active selection process in using content among messages (Chaffee & Schleuder, 1986).

Source credibility is an integral part of the communication process (McCroskey & Young, 1981). In addition to use, the survey asked the respondents to rate the same ten media sources in terms of perceptions as credible sources of information. The following bipolar adjective scale was utilized: 1=very little credibility to 10=very great credibility.

The remainder of the survey consists of four questions. The first is a ‘satisfaction thermometer’ in which zero equates to no satisfaction with the Air Force and 100 equates to most possible satisfaction with a respondent’s service in the Air Force. Respondents are asked to fill in a number which reflects their satisfaction. The second question uses the same ‘thermometer’ approach. It asks respondents to rate the probability of reenlisting beyond their current tour of duty. Zero represents absolutely no chance and 100 represents absolute certainty. Respondents are asked to fill in a number which reflects the probability at that moment.

The remaining two questions deal with demographics about the respondents. The first is a yes or no question asking if the respondents are currently in their first term of service. The final question asks the respondent to identify the number of years in the Air Force. The last two questions will help identify the experience levels of those who complete the survey.

Independent Variables
Involvement levels of the receivers gets to heart of this research. This variable is a direct link as to their level of processing. High involved receivers are more likely to use the direct route to message processing with low involved receivers more likely to use the peripheral route (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986a).

Home | Abstract | Introduction | Literature Review | Methods | Results | Discussion | References | Tables | Instrument | Capstone 03D2 Team

Literature Review
Capstone Team 03D2