- Describe the participants as fully as possible (not the technique, but who participated).
The research involved 3,747 respondents. Almost 9 out of 10 Weblog readers were white (89.3%), 10.3% blacks; 76.5% are male and 23.5% females. The respondents were highly educated, with 92.6% reporting some college or higher and 41.8% earning more than $65,001 per year. Just over half (52.5%) credit Weblogs with increasing their level of political involvement. Almost 9 out of 10 claimed that they had become more knowledgeable about politics (87.3%) and about general news and current events (88.7%) since they started reading Weblogs. Almost three-quarters of the respondents were very interested in politics (64.9%) and general news and current events (67.8%). In addition, the participants were politically interested and knowledgeable, but only moderately trusting on government. slightly less than one-half (47%) reported high to very high levels of trust in the government, 30.9% being moderately trustful, and 22.1% claiming low to very low degrees of trust.
- What type of sample was used? How do you know?
This study combined both convenience and purposeful sampling. First, using internet in this research is a good example of the convenience sampling. The collection of information from the members of the population would the efficient on the internet. This sampling technique was arranged for the convenient of the respondent and the researcher. “It means that the researcher would select subjects from whoever is available at a given place at a given time” (Metzger & Flanagin, 2008). Secondly, the research sample appears purposeful since people with understanding or knowledgeable would be most suitable to provide reliable information on the credibility of the blogs compared to traditional and online media sources. Occasionally, the researcher’s goal is to obtain as much diversity as possible in the sample, but sometimes the goal is to focus intently on a particular aspect of the phenomenon under study. It means that the researcher had to identify certain characteristics of the population to guarantee him or her will reliable information for the research. Because of the low cost and convenience, purposive sampling would count significant in this research.
- Describe all the independent variables fully (name, levels, how operationalized, level of measurement)
The number of blog posts together with the number of comments determines the effectiveness of the Weblog research. This is because in measuring for the activities in a blog, activities are generated from both the readers and blogger. Without comments from the readers, activity generation would not occur. Therefore, the number of blog posts is a measurement of activities from the blogger. Higher values of both of these variables indicate higher degree of activity generation within a blog.
The gender would be another variable to consider in this research. This aspect would be measured by developing issue agendas from the sample content and analyze correlations through cross-lagged comparisons to establish causal relationships between the blogs information and the contentment of the web readers (men and women) in different time periods. Moreover, the research could dwell on the content analysis to explore different networks on the Internet and the preference of the users over the traditional and online media sources. Such information would have influence on the dependent variables such as the believability and consistency.
The total number of visitors to a blog is an additional variable that influences the degree of recognition. Commonly, the value of the visitors is counted based on the use of Alexa toolbar that is utilized by the webmasters and marketers. The number of visitors of the blog is given by:
True visitors=visitor percentage X (0.036 X Global Internet Users)
Describe all the dependent variables fully (name, how operationalized, level of measurement)
Believability- The assumption that frequent users of blogs would rate the Weblogs as highly credible source could apply in defining the believability. “To gauge the reliability of such information, it would be essential to evaluate whether the medium is synchronous” (Metzger & Flanagin, 2008).
Fairness in this research would be an effective dependent variable because it would guide on the archiving feature of blogging. It could suggest that lying to the readers would be unlikely since bloggers are concerned with attractive many users to their materials.
Accuracy- The quantitative content of the Weblogs would apply in evaluating their credibility to traditional formats of sending information. This aspect would be measured by exploring how the participants judged various types of online news by embracing the significance of the social presence.
Depth of weblogs- this would be examined by evaluating the co-orientation as the primary predictor of the perceived credibility above the traditional and online media sources. Moreover, the frequency of occurrence of the readers would dictate the depth of the Weblogs.
- What was the manipulation in this study? How many treatment groups were there? Was there a control group? If so, describe.
The manipulation in this study was based on the “snowball” technique where the participants were supposed to respond to the survey questions. To maintain reliability and efficiency in the data gathered, the respondents were supposed to forward the survey questions to fellow blog readers. This survey employed two treatment groups. One was linked to bloggers with diverse ideologies and the other focused on the Weblogs available on the electronic mailing list. However, this research did not have a control group (Metzger & Flanagin, 2008).
- What do you think was a flaw in the overall design of the study?
The information gained from this research could be biased since the researcher focused on certain participants while excluding others. i.e. non-educated respondents had little contribution to this research. Still, the research team had conceived assumption that reliable and crude information would be obtained from the men, thus alienating the women. Such aspects would be good alternative to include in the control group
- What were the reliability coefficients? Were they at an acceptable level?
The reliability coefficient for this study ranged at 0.76. For this study, this figure would be more suitable if it could get to 0.83 since the information was readily available to every respondent. Moreover, a higher reliability coefficient increases the degrees of accuracy in a research work.
What could have been a threat to the internal validity (accuracy) of the study? How so?
Internal validity could compromise the information on onset that the blog reader could express distrust since credibility is determined by the reputation and the style of delivery of the information. Moreover, internal validation could contribute to presentation to opinionated information putting off some of the new users. Accordingly, the subsequent information would contain several imbalances leading to superiority of the traditional media.
How externally valid (true to real life; random sampling) would you rate the study? Why?
Random sampling would suitably fit this research than convenience and purposeful sampling. It is because random sampling present equal chances for the participant without focusing attention on a specific target groups of respondents. As a result, the validation and credibility of the information gathered would be high (Metzger & Flanagin, 2008).
Metzger, M. J. & Flanagin, A. J. (2008). Digital media, youth, and credibility. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.