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ERIC Number: EJ818298
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 21
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0022-1546
What's Being Sold and to What End? A Content Analysis of College Viewbooks
Hartley, Matthew; Morphew, Christopher C.
Journal of Higher Education, v79 n6 p671-691 Nov-Dec 2008
Viewbooks are an important medium by which institutions of higher learning entice students to matriculate. Indeed, an entire industry exists to aid institutions in the design and production of these publications and college and university admissions and public relations professionals spend a significant amount of time and money fashioning viewbooks in order to entice students to apply. But what are the messages conveyed in these viewbooks? What do institutions say in one of their first communications with prospective students? Although college viewbooks have been a fixture of American higher education for decades, there has been precious little attention paid to the explicit (and implicit) messages in their glossy pages. Here the authors offer the first empirically-based, theoretically-guided work on the subject of viewbooks. Their investigation was informed by three simple questions: (1) What content themes are found in college viewbooks?; (2) Do content themes vary by institutional type and control?; and (3) What messages (if any) are communicated to students about the academic purposes of higher education? The patterns that emerged from this analysis reveal a great deal about the messages colleges and universities convey to prospective students and raise important questions about how a college education is described at a critical juncture in the college decision making process. (Contains 2 tables and 5 endnotes.)
Ohio State University Press. 180 Pressey Hall, 1070 Carmack Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1002. Tel: 614-292-1407; Fax: 614-292-2065; Web site:
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A