The Knowledge Gap

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Carmen Neghina & Alina Oprea

Overview of the Knowledge Gap theory, developed by Tichenor. Analysis, criticism and recommendations

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  • Tichenor - "Mass Media Flow and Differential Growth in Knowledge“Parker, Dunn – Information Technology – its social potential Thomas Cook - Sesame Street revisitedDonohue, Tichenor, & Olien - Mass media and the knowledge gap: a hypothesis reconsideredRogers – Communication and National development. The passing of the dominant paradigmEttema & Kline – Deficits, differences and ceilings: Contingent conditions for understanding the knowledge gapDervin, B. (1980). Communication gaps and inequities: Moving toward a reconceptualizationMcLeod, Bybee, & Durall - Evaluating media performance by gratifications sought and receivedBrantgarde, Lennart - The Information Gap and Municipal Politics in Sweden.NICHOLAS P. LOVRICH, Jr.+JOHN C. PIERCE- "KNOWLEDGE GAP" PHENOMENAVallone, R. P., Ross, L., & Lepper, M. R. (1985). The hostile media phenomenon: Biased Perception and Perceptions of Media Bias in Coverage of the "Beirut Massacre“.Rubinyi, Robert M. (1989) Computers and Community: The Organizational Impact.
  • Tichenor - "Mass Media Flow and Differential Growth in Knowledge“Parker, Dunn – Information Technology – its social potential Thomas Cook - Sesame Street revisitedDonohue, Tichenor, & Olien - Mass media and the knowledge gap: a hypothesis reconsideredRogers – Communication and National development. The passing of the dominant paradigmEttema & Kline – Deficits, differences and ceilings: Contingent conditions for understanding the knowledge gapDervin, B. (1980). Communication gaps and inequities: Moving toward a reconceptualizationMcLeod, Bybee, & Durall - Evaluating media performance by gratifications sought and receivedBrantgarde, Lennart - The Information Gap and Municipal Politics in Sweden.NICHOLAS P. LOVRICH, Jr.+JOHN C. PIERCE- "KNOWLEDGE GAP" PHENOMENAVallone, R. P., Ross, L., & Lepper, M. R. (1985). The hostile media phenomenon: Biased Perception and Perceptions of Media Bias in Coverage of the "Beirut Massacre“.Rubinyi, Robert M. (1989) Computers and Community: The Organizational Impact.
  • We all know the pyramid of knowledge, which consists of .... Today‘s theory suggests that inbetween information and knowledge exists a gap, that can only be overcome through education.Data: symbolsInformation: data that are processed to be useful; provides answers to "who", "what", "where", and "when" questionsKnowledge: application of data and information; answers "how" questionsWisdom : the knowledge and experience needed to make sensible decisions and judgments, or the good sense shown by the decisions and judgments made...cannot make sense of the information... Which is where education comes into play
  • Phillip J. Tichenor in collaboration with George A. Donahue and Clarice N. Olien, all members of the Social Department at the University of Minessotta started by observing that ...
  • 1- Communication skills – persons with more formal education would be expected to have the higher reading and comprehension abilities necessary to acqure PA or science KW2. Persons that are already better informed are more likely to be able to aware of a topic when it appears in the mass media and are better prepared to understand itThe amount of stored information, or existing KW resulting from prior exposure to the topic through mass media or from formal educationRelevant social contact – education generally indicates a broader sphere of everyday activity, a greater no. Of reference groups, and more interpersonal contactsSelective exposure, acceptance and retention of information: what appears to be selective exposure accordign to attitudes might often be „de facto“ selectivity resulting from educational differences.The nature of the mass media system that delivers the information: most science and PA news is carried in print media, which traditionally have been more heavily used by higher-status persons.
  • The hypothesis formulated by Tichenor, states that ...
  • If we look at how the Hypothesis is formulated, we can clearly identify its components: the independent variable is .... Whereas the dependent variable is ... We can then conclude that knowledge gap becomes the degree of relationship between education and knowledge.
  • Most important was that the gap between levels widened over time in that the percentage of respondents in the high education level who agreed rose more than 60 percentage points over 16 years while those in the low level of education category rose less than 25 percentage points.
  • Two communities :Strike community: smaller, less industrialized, higher socioeconomic levelNon strike communityMethod: 11 tests – current events
  • Measures the person‘s ability to verbalize news article content and therefore the information which the person is able to transmit into the social system.
  • 1. basic communication skills & other factors associated with socioeconomic status --> "transsituational" factors (education, income, occupation). 2. differences in motivation --> "situation-specific" factors.
  • examined effects on information consumption, exposure on info retention, info dissemination, & political activity. conclusion was that the information gap is not a homogeneous phenomenon.Brantgarde states that his results are disturbing in that they suggest that the highly educated are more able to disseminate info & thus might be able to influence decision makers by making opinions known to them - called the influence gap instead of the information gap.
  • 1996 – Finnegan content domains (some subjects are intrinsically more relevant to people, such as their health)channel influence (some channels are used more, and have greater impact, on certain groups)social conflict and community mobilizationthe structure of communitiesindividual motivational factors.
  • The Knowledge Gap

    1. 1. The<br />DGE<br />KNOWLE<br />GA<br />P<br />
    2. 2. „Knowledge is power“ <br />2<br />
    3. 3. Content<br />Mass Media‘s Role<br />Knowledge Gap Theory<br />Refinement of the hypothesis<br />
    4. 4. Mass Media‘s Role<br />
    5. 5. Timeline<br />Mass Media‘s Role<br />Vallone<br />Tichenor<br />Dervin<br />Lovrich & Pierce<br />Gaziano<br />Cook<br />Rogers<br />1984<br />1970<br />1975<br />1977<br />1982<br />1996<br />Brantgarde<br />Parker<br />Ettema & Kline<br />McLeod<br />Donohue<br />
    6. 6. Timeline<br />Mass Media‘s Role<br />Vallone<br />Tichenor<br />Dervin<br />Lovrich & Pierce<br />Gaziano<br />Cook<br />Rogers<br />1984<br />1970<br />1975<br />1977<br />1982<br />1996<br />Brantgärde<br />Parker<br />Ettema & Kline<br />McLeod<br />Donohue<br />
    7. 7. Hierarchy of Knowledge<br />Mass Media‘s Role<br />Wisdom<br />Knowledge<br />Information<br />Data<br />
    8. 8. Sesame Street<br />Mass Media‘s Role<br />Profile: educational TV programming<br />Target group: disadvantaged inner city kids<br />Goal: bring all kids up to a basic level to prepare them for school<br />Method: combining information and entertainment<br />Researcher: Thomas Cook – 1975<br />Findings: the gap still existed between kids with a higher level of education compared to kids with less<br />Exception: heavy viewers were able to narrow the gap<br />
    9. 9. Projections<br />Mass Media‘s Role<br />Mass media <br /><ul><li>reinforce or increase existing inequalities
    10. 10. more oriented towards the more educated and more powerful groups in society
    11. 11. systematically project definitions of issues which are conducive to the interest of established power groups
    12. 12. people of higher socioeconomic status get their information in a different way than lower educated people.</li></li></ul><li>Knowledge Gap Theory<br />
    13. 13. In the Beginning...<br />Knowledge Gap Theory<br />Information and knowledge usually spread <br />unequally to all groups within social systems<br />
    14. 14. Reasons<br />Knowledge Gap Theory<br />Predicted Knowledge Gap<br />
    15. 15. Hypothesis<br />Knowledge Gap Theory<br /> As the infusion of mass media information into a social system increases, segments of the population with higher socioeconomic status tend to acquire this information at a faster rate than the lower status segments so that the gap in knowledgebetween these segments tends to increase rather than decrease<br />
    16. 16. Study Variables<br />Knowledge Gap Theory<br />IV<br />DV<br />variation in mass media publicity or media use<br />knowledge gap according to social economic status<br />Knowledge gap becomes the degree of relationship between education and knowledge<br />
    17. 17. Operational Hypothesis<br />Over time, acquisition of knowledge of a heavily publicized topic will proceed at a faster rate among better educated person than among those with less education<br />2. At a given point in time, there should be a higher correlation between acquisition of knowledge and education for topics highly publicized in the media than for topics less highly publicized.<br />Knowledge Gap Theory<br />A<br />B<br />C<br />
    18. 18. Assumptions<br />Education indicates socio-economic status<br />Information flow may be characterized by irreversible linear or curvelinear trends<br />No upper limit of information has been reached<br />PA and science news have less appeal and value to <br />Knowledge Gap Theory<br />
    19. 19. Methods - Tichenor<br />Types of research:<br />Time trends<br />Newspaper strike<br />Field experiment<br />Methods: <br /> - surveys of mass media<br /> - tests of knowledge<br />Knowledge Gap Theory<br />
    20. 20. 4 different polls: <br />Question: Do you believe men would reach the moon in the future?<br />Results:<br /> - Gap between college educated and those with lower education<br />- Significant increase of knowledge over years<br />1. Time trend<br />Knowledge Gap Theory<br />
    21. 21. 2. Newspaper Strike Study<br />Knowledge Gap<br />Studied the effects of withdrawing mass media influence<br />Findings:<br />Less of a knowledge difference between better and less educated people in the strike community<br />
    22. 22. 3. Minneapolis – St. Paul Experiment<br />Knowledge Gap Theory<br />Reader understanding: <br />22 medical and biological research articles<br />21 social science articles<br />Sample: 600 persons – metropolitan area<br />Objective: readership and reiteration of information<br />
    23. 23. Findings<br />Most of the data seems to be consistent with the increasing knowledge gap hypothesis<br />A difference in knowledge according to educational level<br />Regardless of educational background, knowledge increases over years<br />When deprived of information, the gap between more and less educated persons lessens<br />People may develop trained capacities to react to various stimuli<br />Knowledge Gap Theory<br />
    24. 24. Relevance<br /> The Knowledge Gap hypothesis seems to be a fundamental explanation for the apparent failure of mass publicity to inform the public at large<br />The people reached by campaigns tend to be the better educated, the younger and the men, while less educated and older people ignore the campaign<br />Knowledge Gap Theory<br />
    25. 25. Criticism<br />The psychological level of analysis should also be analyzed: motivation, relevance, cognitive schemata, threat and interest.<br />Gender and race were not taken into consideration<br />PA and news science are less valuable and appealing to the general public<br />Income, occupation may also be relevant differentiators<br />Knowledge Gap Theory<br />
    26. 26. Refinement of the Theory<br />
    27. 27. Closing the Gap<br />Tichenor<br />Shift from an abstract notion of social systems to a concrete geographically grounded idea of community<br />Kw gap decreases for local issues under conditions of high significance, high community conflict and homogenity of population<br />Refinement of the <br />Theory<br />?<br />
    28. 28. Individual Voluntarism<br />Ettema & Kline<br />Shift from societal naturalism to individual voluntarism<br />The individual is seen as an entity constructing meanings unique to their circumstances<br />Refinement of the <br />Theory<br />
    29. 29. Influence Gap?<br />Brantgarde<br />Expanded the knowledge gap to include more than knowledge, namely social relations (opinion leaders)<br />Knowledge gap becomes the influence gap<br />Refinement of the <br />Theory<br />
    30. 30. Further Questions<br /> Q: If media widens these knowledge gaps, under which circumstances can they be closed?<br /> Knowledge gaps are not intractable. <br />Contributory conditions that could reduce knowledge gaps: <br />content domains<br />channel influence <br />social conflict and community mobilization<br />the structure of communities<br />individual motivational factors.<br />
    31. 31. Thank you for your attention !<br />

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