Knowledge gap hypothesis

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Knowledge Gap Hypothesis:
Introduction:
This theory is concerned mainly with “information” and “knowledge” and emphasizes that knowledge is not distributed equally throughout society.
There are haves and have-nots with regard to information just as material wealth Information is very important in our society because any developed country depends on well-informed citizens.
It appears certain that information will be even more important in the future as we move into an increasingly technological age.
Many contemporary issues will require information and an informed public for the solutions for such issues.

Role of mass communication:
* One of the great promises of mass communication is that it provides people with information they need.
* It has the potential of reaching people who have not been reached by other means (poor and undeveloped people).
One example of an effort to use mass communication to provide information to the disadvantaged is the “educational TV program” Sesame Street (which combined information with entertainment for preschool Children.).
Other mass communication efforts that have the advantage of getting information to people usually not reached
is the televised presidential debates that might take the presidential election campaigns to people who would not normally be exposed to the campaign.
The attempts to increase people’s quantities of information from mass media might have some unexpected or undesirable effects.
This undesirable possibility is that mass communication might actually have the effect of increasing the gap in knowledge between members of different social classes. This possibility is called: “ Knowledge gap Hypothesis”.
The authors of Knowledge Gap Hypothesis:
• § The Knowledge Gap Hypothesis was first proposed in 1970 by Tichenor, Donohue and OLien. Mostly, it is known as Tichenor et al or Tichenor and his colleagues’ hypothesis.
Tichenor et al . Stated the KG Hypothesis as follow:
“As the infusion of mass media information into a social system increases, segments of the population with higher socio-economic status tend to acquire this information at a faster rate than the lower status segments, so that the gap in knowledge between these two segments tend to increase rather than decrease”.
The hypothesis predicts that:
• § People of both high and low socioeconomic status will gain in knowledge because of the additional information, but that persons of higher socioeconomic status will gain more.
• § This would mean that the relative gap in knowledge between the well-to-do and less well-off would increase.
Tichenor and his colleagues suggest that:
The K. G. is particularly likely to occur in such areas of general interest as public affairs and science news. It is less likely to occur in more specific areas that are related to people’s particular interests-areas like sports or garden care.

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Knowledge gap hypothesis

  1. 1. Presented to Sir Khuram Mehran By M Zamir Asadi (MS 1 IIUI)
  2. 2. In 1970 Philip J Tichenor, George A. Donohue and Clarice. N Olien proposed an idea titled as “Mass media flow and differential growth in knowledge”
  3. 3. Theory  This theory is concerned mainly with “information” and “knowledge” and emphasizes that knowledge is not distributed equally throughout society  Concept of haves and have-nots with regard to information just as material wealth Information is very important in our society because any developed country depends on well-informed citizens  Higher socioeconomic status segments tend to acquire this information faster than lower socioeconomic status population
  4. 4. Knowledge Gap Hypothesis  As the infusion of mass media information into a social system increases, segments of the population with higher socio-economic status tend to acquire this information at a faster rate than the lower status segments, so that the gap in knowledge between these two segments tend to increase rather than decrease
  5. 5. Role of Mass Media  One of the great promises of mass communication is that it provides people with information they need  It has the potential of reaching people who have not been reached by other means (poor and undeveloped people)
  6. 6. Sesame Street  Educational program  Broadcasted in 1969  Government Head start program  For disadvantaged preschoolers  Combining information and entertainment  The gap still existed between kids with higher and less education exposure  Heavy viewers were able to narrow the gap
  7. 7. Presidential Debate  Other mass communication efforts that have the advantage of getting information to people usually not reached is the televised presidential debates(USA) that might take the presidential election campaigns to people who would not normally be exposed to the campaign.
  8. 8. Hypothesis Prediction  People of both high and low socioeconomic status will gain in knowledge because of the additional information, but that persons of higher socioeconomic status will gain more  This would mean that the relative gap in knowledge between the well-to-do and less well-off would increase.
  9. 9. Operational forms of the Hypothesis  Techinor et al 1970 say that KG hypothesis might be stated in two ways:  Overtime, acquisition of knowledge of a heavily publicized topic will proceed at a faster rate among better- educated persons than among those with less education  At a given time, there should be a higher correlation between acquisition of knowledge and education for topics highly publicized in the media than for topics less publicized
  10. 10. Possible reasons for Knowledge Gap  There is a difference in communication skills between those high and low in SES  There is a difference in the amount of stored information or previously acquired background knowledge  People of higher SES might have more relevant social contact  The mechanisms of selective exposure, acceptance and retention might be operating. (Persons with low SES might not find or be interested in topics such as public affairs or science news)  The nature of the mass media system itself is that it is geared toward persons of higher SES
  11. 11. How To Reduce The Knowledge Gap  Widening knowledge gaps are more likely to occur in communities with numerous sources of information (Pluralistic communities) than with informal but communication channels (Homogeneous communities).  When an issue has immediate and strong local impact, the knowledge gap is likely to decline  A well-known celebrity involved in the dissemination of information could help achieve wider visibility for and acceptance of the information  When an issue arouses basic social concerns, the knowledge gap is likely to be reduced or eliminated  Researchers found that television may have a special power to close knowledge gaps or, if not to close them, at least to keep them from widening
  12. 12. KG and New Technology  It is not clear what are the effects of the new technologies will be on level of information held by the public  Many of the new technologies are expensive  Because of the cost, these technologies may be more available to the well-to-do than to less –well-off.
  13. 13. Cont…  For this and other reasons, the effect of the technological revolution in communication could be a further widening of the KG. So, availability of the new technology may affect the KG  If the access to these information services is not universally available throughout the society, then those already “information-rich” may reap the benefits while the “information-poor” get relatively poorer.  A widening of this “information gap” may lead to increase tension.
  14. 14. The Digital Divide  What is the digital divide?  The digital divide is the gap between people with access to digital information technology, and those that have limited access to digital information technology  Gap can be found between individuals, communities, and countries  The digital divide causes an increased knowledge gap.  People who lack access to the internet will not be receiving the information provided by the internet  People who have internet learn how to interpret and understand information the information presented
  15. 15. KG in Public Affairs  Address by US Supreme court justice Hugo Black  Major address by US president Roosevelt  Presidential debates in 1988 between George Bush and Michael Dukakis  Vice presidential candidates Dan Quayle and Lloyd Bentsen i. Higher socio economic status showed interest as compare to lower socio economic status
  16. 16. Criticism of the KG Hypothesis  Dervin (1980) criticized the KG for being based on the traditional source-sending-messages –to-receiver paradigm of communication  She recommended that communication campaigns and researchers be more user-based and user-constructed information  Evatt (1998) argued that researchers should be sure that the information they are testing is useful and relevant for the audience being tested
  17. 17. Knowledge Gap from Pakistani Perspective  Pakistani rural areas are different from Urban areas  The socio economic status of people of rural areas is very low than people of urban area  The information and knowledge gap is much more in between these two sectors  The reason for this is the lack of educational facilities in rural areas  Lack of information sources
  18. 18. Factors widening KG  Lack of professional ethics  Limited accessibility to internet  Ignorance about current professional knowledge  Poor library infrastructure  Limited state funded resources  Limited capacity to attend international professional conferences  Lack of personal will  Unavailability of fresh scientific literature  Obsolete professional knowledge in different disciplines
  19. 19. World Economic Forum and KG In Pak  Witnessed collective collapse in global competitiveness I. 118th position in (2011) II. 124th in (2012) III. 133rd in (2013) among 148 countries
  20. 20. Example  When a person from rural area applies for the job and on the same time the person from Urban area applies then both of them have different level of knowledge  The communication skills of the person from Urban area would be much better than rural area person  Rural area person would not be much confident, he would lack various trends of suiting's, walk, talk and so on.
  21. 21. Meena Kay Sath  UNICEF developed the Meena Communication Initiative (MCI) as a mass communication project in 1998 Goals  Aimed at changing perceptions and behavior that hamper the survival, protection and development of girls in South Asia  Fighting the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS  Education, health, gender equity, freedom from exploitation and abuse
  22. 22. Conclusion  Interest and motivation can help in narrowing KG  Information campaigns must be on audience research  Society must assure the access to information available to all  It probably begin with needs of the potential user of information

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