ERIC Number: ED261677
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-May
Reference Count: 0
Biases of Communication Systems: An Exploratory Approach to Studying New Communication Technologies.
Krendl, Kathy A.; Fredin, Eric S.
This field experiment begins to build a theoretical framework for exploring the effects of media characteristics on subjects' understanding and integration of information. Students in two eighth-grade science classes wrote term papers with one class using a print encyclopedia and the other an electronic encyclopedia to conduct their research. A third class, taught by the same teacher, was not assigned the term paper and acted as a control group. Measures of horizontal knowledge (breadth of knowledge on the topic) and vertical knowledge (depth of knowledge on the topic) were collected from pre- and posttests, as well as from teacher assessments of the final papers. The horizontal and vertical knowledge measures were designed to tap the effects of basic characteristics of the two media systems on the way in which the subjects used them. Because of the nature of the system, students using the videotex system were expected to score highest on horizontal knowledge, whereas print students were expected to perform best on measures of vertical knowledge. Results support the first hypothesis with students in the electronic encyclopedia class scoring significantly higher on measures of horizontal knowledge. However, teachers also scored the electronic encyclopedia student papers higher on vertical knowledge. This exploratory study concludes that efforts to link specific media characteristics to dependent measures of subject understanding or learning is a fruitful approach for research on the effects of new technologies. An 11-item bibliography and 3-point scales for each of the dependent variables (appearance, vertical, and horizontal knowledge) are included. (Author/THC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (Honolulu, HI, May 23-27, 1985).