ERIC Number: ED383009
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-May
Reference Count: N/A
A Twenty-Five-Year Review of Knowledge Gap Research.
Evidence from 34 studies published since a 1983 review of 58 earlier studies underscores knowledge inequalities as an enduring phenomenon and emphasizes that interest in the knowledge gap phenomenon is accelerating. All 10 studies which varied "media publicity" supported the hypothesis. Eleven of 12 studies which varied some aspect of "media use" found knowledge gaps. Only a fraction of these studies varied media publicity and measured gaps at more than one time, which provides the best test of the classic knowledge gap hypothesis. Despite a multitude of findings on knowledge disparities, conditions under which changes in gaps occur still are not well documented. Twenty-two findings from 12 recent reports provide conflicting pictures. Without more measurements, better research designs, improved conceptualizations of the phenomenon and contingent conditions, and consistent attention to variation in mass media publicity, social scientists cannot hope to understand knowledge gap phenomena and address their implications. Since evidence for knowledge gaps is so abundant, future concentration on behavior gaps, value gaps, attitude gaps, may be more fruitful in improving the results of information campaigns, especially those concerning health and public affairs topics. (Contains 93 references, 6 notes, and 3 tables of data.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Knowledge Gap Hypothesis; Research Suggestions
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (50th, Fort Lauderdale, FL, May 21, 1995).