In the case of DoDís anthrax vaccination plan, a simple survey of members of the military society (similar to Teoís) could have ameliorated the problems that arose because of misinformation available on the Internet. This proposed survey needs to explore the question of how military members use mass media to obtain information, with an emphasis on Internet use. Such a survey could be conducted via electronic mail to all persons with a .mil extension in their e-mail address. A survey incorporating a Likert-type attitudinal scale would be the most effective way to collect data of this sort. It would need to address general areas of mass media preferences, and go into detail on Internet use: 1) how many hours per week are spent seeking information on the Internet; 2) is the Internet a primary source of news and information and 3) is the Internet a credible source for news and information.
Uses and gratification researchers recognize that information receivers are active participants in the communication process, rather than being passive and unthinking audience members (Littlejohn, 1996). While the Defense Department may realize service members actively seek information about military issues on the Internet, the department does not know to what extent the Internet is utilized and what type of individual uses the medium.
One proposal is to conduct such a survey via electronic mail to all persons with a [.mil] extension in their e-mail address. Another perhaps more manageable method is by obtaining a random sample of 1500 military people from military communications departments' detailed listings of registered Internet users. Because of the mobile habits of military members, a one month timeline is proposed for e-mail responses. A response rate of 40 percent or more is desired from e-mailed surveys.
A third possibility is a convenience sample, wherein respondents could reply after the military services post the survey on their respective web sites. One benefit of this type of convenience sample is a high number of answers would come from people who are comfortable with information technology, since the found the survey on an Internet site.