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The process of political socialization of native born American citizens and foreign born naturalized American citizens

Key words: political socialization, migration,immigration, acculturation, civic engagement
By Cristina Medrea

Saint Anselm College
Manchester, New Hampshire
Welcome
Aknowledgements
Abstract
Introduction
Political Socialization
Migration and Acculturation
Method
Results
Tables
Discussion
References
Appendices
Related Links
 
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cristinutza_ro@yahoo.com
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Welcome



Thank you for visiting my webpage. I hope you will enjoy it, and please feel free to contact me if you are interested in the project!
 

Acknowledgements


   First and foremost I would like to thank my family who has given me so much, and all along this process they were there for me to support me even from far away. 
I thank God for blessing me with such an understanding and supportive family.
   I cannot express my gratitude to an incredible professor and mentor, Dr. Elizabeth Ossoff who expects the best from her students, but also gives them the best advice and guidance. Thank you for making me strive to work at my highest potential!
   This study would have not been possible without my participants that took the time to complete the survey, and also without the teachers at the “English as a Second Other Language” programs that helped me collect the data. 
Last, but not least I would like to express my thanks to my big adoptive family in the United States, to my roommate and friend, and to all of my friends who were there to encourage me, to give me advice and to help me when I  needed the most! I could not have done this without the wonderful people who have been faithfully there for me at any time!
 

 


 

Abstract

    The purpose of this study is to investigate the possible differences in the process of political socialization as it occurs in the life of native born Americans and foreign born naturalized Americans. The literature supports the hypothesis that states that  due to the cultural background and the personal experiences of an individual, he or she will have a different way of acquiring political information and forming political beliefs depending on whether they were born in the United States (US) or not.  The process of political socialization usually takes place during childhood and early adulthood, but in the case of  the immigrant population, this process takes place later in life after they immigrate to a new country. The immigrant population already underwent a process of political socialization in their native country, but will learn about the political system of their new  country as they become citizens. The main sources of political socialization are the following: family, friends, TV news, newspapers, school, radio and the internet. Native born Americans and foreign born Americans also differ in the sources they choose to acquire their political information.
    Two samples were used for the purpose of this study.  The first sample consisted of 13 native born Americans all employees of a small liberal arts college in Southern New Hampshire, that belonged to different departments within the institution. The second sample consisted of 13 foreign born Americans who were taking English classes at an  “English as a Second Other Language” (ESOL) program  in Southern New Hampshire. All participants were asked to complete an experimenter-generated survey which was composed of 24 questions, including open ended questions, yes and no questions, and questions on a Likert-type scale. 
    The analysis performed on these data consisted of mostly independent t-tests and crosstabs. A significant difference was found between the two samples in terms of their rating of the best way to stay politically informed. The foreign born sample relied more heavily on TV news to get their political information, whereas the native born population was more evenly spread out in terms of the other sources such as newspaper, internet and the radio. Another significant difference was found on the similarity of political beliefs with their spouse, as the native born population held beliefs similar to those of  their spouses than the foreign born population. Also, there was a significant difference between the two samples regarding their level of involvement and concern about politics, and  also in their likelihood of voting in the coming election.  These results provided more support for the hypothesis that stated that there is a significant difference in the way US born Americans and foreign born Americans gather their political information.
   These results are significant as they provide insight into the different sources of political information adopted by different groups according to their cultural and ethnic background. This topic needs further research as this study had rather small N and the two samples were randomly selected within the same region. Other differences should be explored within the foreign born sample regarding their geographical and political background, their time spent in the United States and the reasons for their immigration. The process of political socialization is a very sophisticated concept and it needs further research and study in order to learn about its occurrences and means in different groups of individuals.
 

 
Introduction

     The focus of this study is the process of political socialization as it occurs for native  born American citizens who presently reside in the United States and foreign born naturalized American citizens who are  immigrants that became American citizens . This study found that due to the differences in cultures, traditions, and experiences, there is a  significant difference regarding their sources of  political socialization. Political socialization is specific to each individual; therefore it  occurs under different forms as a consequence not only due to personal differences, but also due to group differences. American born citizens have different experiences that impact the way they understand politics and their role in the civic life, that differ from those that  raised under different forms of government and different regions of the world. Immigrants that became naturalized citizens are a rich group to research since they were exposed both to the form of government in their native countries, and also to the democratic process particular to the United States, all of this occurring during their advanced adulthood years.  For this particular group, the process it is more complicated as they already have a personal understanding of politics and a cognitive framework that they need to change or by integrating  the new with the old. 
    This particular process of political socialization has been studied extensively as it occurs in different populations, but this particular group, the foreign born American citizens that were naturalized and not born in the United States has not been examined adequately . This study sought to investigate some of these possible differences, but recognized from the beginning  its limitations especially due to the sample of immigrants that is not necessarily representative of the widely spread out immigrant population on the territory of the United States.
 


 

Political socialization

    Political socialization is the process through which people acquire their political beliefs and attitudes that shape their individual political involvement, their trust in the political system, their voting pattern, and their way of gathering information regarding the political arena (Cooper, 2001). The process of political socialization can occur through different routes such as parents, teachers, peers and the media (Barner-Barry, 1985). Most of childhood is spent with parents, therefore there is a tendency to adopt and internalize their ways of thinking and their opinions. Bandura’s social learning theory that states  that humans learn social behavior by both observing and imitating others  (Aronson, 2002), and this very principle can be applied to the process of political socialization. Children and young adults can observe their parents’ behavior, and as they are perhaps their closest role models, their actions will be seen as socially desirable and therefore worthy of being imitated (Aronson, 2002). 
    The process of political socialization will not only  impacts the way people understand and see the world around them politically, but it will also have a great influence on the degree to which they are civically engaged either through volunteering or through voting (Galston, 2001). It was found that the more one knows about the political system and the general social system in one’s country, the more likely they are to vote and get involved in other ways (Galston, 2001). In a study by Popkin and Dimock (1996) on American voter apathy, the authors concluded that the lack of involvement and the lack of voting of the American people is not due to the distrust of government, but to lack of knowledge or exposure to news and political events as well as to the feelings of inefficacy of the individual (Galston, 2001). If this is true, then it means that civic engagement will not increase in young adults today; although they have more access to the information, they do not know more than people in the 1950’s (Galston, 2001).
     The lack of efficacy regarding one’s place in the political system is one potential source of a reduced level of civic engagement and voting.  A lack of political efficacy is the feeling that an individual’s political actions cannot have or it does not have a true impact on the political system (Craig, 1990). When discussing political efficacy, there are two kinds that need mentioned: internal and external efficacy.  Internal efficacy represents the extent to which an individual believes they can impact the system, whereas external efficacy is more concerned with the responsiveness of the government in power to the demands of the individuals and to society as a whole (Craig, 1990). The difference between internal and external can be of great use when educating young adults regarding the political process and the civic engagement. There is a need for the empowerment of the individual, and once that is accomplished further work can be done to teach him/her to use this power and the knowledge about the political system and how to be a better citizen.
     The process of political socialization as it applies to US immigrants is slightly different than that of native born American citizens according to Martinelli and Chaffee (1995). Their research focused on the immigrant population in California before the 1988 presidential election and it was observed that newly naturalized immigrants were motivated by different issues than the American population and also they relied more on their strong religious background from their native country (Martinelli and Chaffee, 1995). The participants in the study did not have much experience with American politics in general and their party identification was either weak or nonexistent, therefore their process of political socialization started from mostly a blank slate with no previous schemata regarding politics and civic life (Martinelli and Chaffee, 1995). 
     The same research discusses other routes of political socialization such as: television news, television ads and newspapers (Martinelli and Chaffee, 1995). The majority of studies done on newspaper reading and political knowledge show a fairly high correlation between the two variables, and those who are less likely to read the newspaper are less informed politically and socially (Martinelli and Chaffee, 1995).Two other media political socialization sources are television news and television ads and these show a correlation to political knowledge, but it seems that the mere exposure to it does not have a great impact, unless those who are actively seeking information from these sources are more politically savvy (Martinelli and Chaffee, 1995).
 
 


 
Migration and Acculturation

    Currently one of the problems that is faced by many countries and their citizens that is not examined adequately is the problem of immigration. This is surprising since this is not a new process, but has been a major American phenomenon more than 100 years (Kegley and Wittkopf, 2004). For some people the word immigration might prompt the idea of Western countries being inundated with immigrants from less wealthy countries. While this may be true, it is not the only scenario, as immigration has a wide range of other possibilities. For example there is the immigration of people from the south to the north, even in countries that are considered not wealthy by the Western states (Kegley and Wittkopf, 2004).
    Immigration has many different social effects and impacts the life of the immigrants and the receiving population in ways that sometimes are not well understood. Economic impact is one that first comes to mind, but it is not the only one. There is a tremendous psychological change within immigrants and also in the lives of the receiving population of the country from where they immigrated. Furthermore, one of the areas that is impacted by this process is the political one. Although this is often not taken into account, a few studies show the impact of immigrants on the political process and civic engagement.
     As mentioned before, immigration is a process that impacts the life of the immigrants and of the receiving population as well. During this process there are several changes and adjustments that take place in the immigrant’s life. One of the most important processes that impacts the way people acculturate to a new country is this process of political socialization. Due to the different experiences of immigrant youth it may be important to analyze the political socialization process as it impacts their understanding of politics and the new environment they are part of in the present.
     Another term that is frequently used to describe the adjustment of an immigrant population to the “new found” homeland is acculturation. Acculturation is the process involving the changes that occur in both the receiving population and the immigrant population that are due to the interaction between the two groups (Smith and Bond, 1999). The cross-cultural contact is essential in the process of adjustment and acculturation as it determines the way immigrants will perceive the environment in which they now live, but it also may influence the way they are perceived by the natives. The process of acculturation is one that takes place over time and it has different stages as proposed first by Lysgaard and later on by Oberg in the U-curve model of adjustment as cited by Smith and Bond (1999) which include the stages of honeymoon, crisis, recovery and adjustment . In the honeymoon phase when immigrants arrive in a new country, they are overwhelmed by all the good of that place, and they live in euphoria. The next stage is called crisis, as the immigrants start to miss the social interaction with their families and friends in the homeland. Next, a period of recovery occurs during which the immigrants learn to deal with the crisis and overcome it by focusing on the issues of their new home. The last stage is adjustment when the immigrant is integrated into the receptive community and learns to socialize and enjoy his/her new life style (Smith and Bond, 1999). These stages are important for the process of socialization as the immigrant is adjusting to the new country, and part of this adjustment occurs the political adjustment. The political socialization process occurs mostly after these stages are completed by the immigrant thus representing in a certain way the basis for the processes of adjustment that will be followed by the political socialization process.
    Due to the complicated process of adjustment, the language barriers and the cultural differences faced by the immigrant population, their experiences will contribute to their understanding of political information. Therefore, the process of political information will also be different in the immigrant population than in the native born population. These differences are due to a conglomeration of factors, but the purpose of this study is to analyze three aspects of political socialization such as : family, peers and media, and how each of these occurs in the two samples, and to look at the possible differences in which the two samples choose their source of political information. Furthermore, the study sought to look at the possible differences in the level of political involvement and concern, as well as the decision to vote in the coming election, as these related to the source of political socialization used by each sample.
 

 


Method

Participants: 


    The first sample (N=13) with 8 males and 5 females were all born in the United States and have their residence in the United States. The subjects have an average age of 40, with a middle-class background and, are from the New England area. This is a sample of convenience randomly selected from the staff of a small liberal arts college in New England. These participants differed in terms of their educational background, their jobs and their political ideology.

   The second sample (N=13) the foreign born participants, 4 males 9 females were born in a foreign country, but were naturalized as US citizens. The subjects have an average age of 40, with a working class/middle class situation, and living in a small New England town. These participants came from diverse geographical and cultural backgrounds and lived in the United States for different amounts of time, some just for 5 years and others up to 20 years. Also, these participants came from countries with very different forms of governments.

Materials: 

    The subjects were asked to complete a survey regarding their political attitudes, political behavior, and the sources used to acquire their political information study (see Appendix A).
    The survey was experimenter-generated but also incorporated some items from a political background questionnaire developed by Dr. Elizabeth Ossoff in a research project at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. Before the administration, the survey used for this study was approved by the Saint Anselm College Institutional Review Board and was in full compliance with the guidelines of the American Psychological Association code of ethics.
   Along with the survey each participant received a letter that summarized the purpose of the study and explained the completion procedure. Also, the researcher assured the participants of the voluntary, confidential and anonymous nature of the survey in the letter. The participants were also explained that they can stop the process at any time if they felt uncomfortable or not at ease. Furthermore, this letter served as an informed consent the moment the participants decided to voluntarily fill out the survey, showing that they read the letter and understood the procedure. The letter had two different forms for the two samples due to the procedure used to recruit the participants in the two samples through different organizations either the college or the English Second Other Language programs. (see Apendix B and Apendix C)

Procedure

   Due to the difference in the two samples, the procedure used to recruit the participants was different for each group, but voluntary and confidential participation was insured to both samples.
    In the case of the US born sample, the population used was the staff at a small liberal arts college in Manchester, NH. The surveys were sent by campus mail to a group of 30 employees of the college, randomly selected from a list of employees. Out of the 30 randomly selected participants, 14 of them replied to the survey, but only 13 were used due to the fact that one participant did not fit the requirements of the study that stated that all must be US citizens.     Upon completion of the survey, the 13 individuals returned the materials to the researcher’s mailbox through campus mail.
    For the second sample, that of foreign born naturalized citizens, a slightly different procedure was used. The participants were contacted through the leaders of two English as a Second Language programs in Manchester, NH. The teacher handed out the surveys to the participants that were US citizens and explained to them the purpose and the details of the survey. The participants that voluntarily decided to complete the study returned the surveys to their teacher and placed them in an envelope that was returned to the researcher. 
All participants were explained the volunteer nature of the study and their power in regards to the termination of the process at any time. (See Apendix B and C)

 
 

Results

    The analysis performed on the data collected from both samples the foreign born US citizens and US native born citizens,  supported the hypothesis that stated that there will be a difference between the way the two samples acquire their political information. 


The independent variable in this study was the variable that showed whether a participant was born in the United States or became an American citizen after immigrating to this country. 

The dependent variables that were analyzed were sources of political socialization such as TV news, Newspapers, radio, internet, family and friends; level of concern towards politics, level of involvement in politics, partisanship and willingness to vote. Other confounding variables that the researcher sought to account for were: age, education and native country. 
From the total number of participants (N=26) , 46% were males and 54 % were females. Also the participants ranged in age from 21 to 64 ( M= 44), and their level of education was from high school and up to a PHD or an equivalent, but on average most of the participants had only some college (M=3.5, some college).  From the first sample (N=13), the US born population,  62 % were males (N=8) and 38% were females (N=5). In the second sample the foreign born population (N=13), 31 % were males  (N=4) and 
69 % were females (N= 9). 

An internal consistency analysis was run, as the survey was an experimenter-generated one. The reliability analysis between the 6 media variables on the questionnaire showed an alpha level of a= .30. Due to the low level of the alpha, an analysis was run on the individual media variables such as : newspapers, internet, TV news, other TV programming and radio.
Several independent t-tests were done to establish whether there is a difference between the two samples in terms of their sources of political socialization. Also, several  descriptive statistics and crosstabs analysis were conducted to look at the possible differences within each category of the different variables in the study. 
The hypothesis was supported by the results yielded by the independent t-test performed on the question regarding the best way to stay informed (t(22)=1.797, p=.05). There was a significant difference regarding the participants’ opinion on what is the best way to stay informed as 91.6 % ,11 participants (N=12) of the foreign born sample classified television news as the most importance source of information (see Table 1). On the other hand, the US born sample was more evenly distributed between television news, newspapers 33.3 %, internet 8.3% and radio 8.3%, but still a 50%, 6 participants from this sample classified television news as the best way of staying informed (N=12)
.
Another route of political socialization is through school or education. In the US born sample 46% (N=13) received some kind of political information in school compared to 31% (N=13) in the foreign born sample. There was no significant difference found in the analysis of this variable between the two groups ( t(24)=-.784, p=.440).
     In terms of the variable of  political similarity with a spouse, there was a significant difference between the groups, where the US born sample was more likely to have similar beliefs to those of their spouse (M=5.7, on a 1 to 7 scale with 1 standing for very different and 7= the same), whereas for the foreign born sample was slightly less similar (M=4.2, on the same scale)(See Table 2). Furthermore, the two groups differed when asked about their political similarity to their peers and their families, but the results did not yield statistical significance. (See Table 2)
    Another independent t-test was performed on the level of interest and concern in politics, and also the rating of the importance of voting. The results showed a significant difference between the two samples, with the US born population showing higher interest and involvement in politics and civic life than the Foreign born population (see Table 3). 
Also an analysis regarding the participants intention to vote in the coming election yielded an important result that also supported the hypothesis. It was showed that there is a significant difference between the two samples (see Table 4), with the US born sample being more decided to vote as it can be seen from their intention, whereas the foreign born sample being decided not to vote or  at least undecided
.
     Overall, the results of the analysis supported the hypothesis that stated there are differences between the two samples in terms of their sources and impact of political socialization.



 
Tables
 

Table 1          Table 2           Table 3       Table 4


Table 1. Best way to stay politically informed for both samples (N=26)




                       US born sample(N=12)     Foreign born sample(N=12)

TV News                  6                                                 11
Newspapers              4                                                  0 
Internet                    1                                                  1
Radio                       1                                                  0
 

Table 2. Political similarity with family/spouse/peers



                                                      US born sample       Foreign born sample
                                                      Mean        SD            Mean     SD               df.             t


Political similarity  with family       3.46        1.94          4.18      2.22              22            -847 
Political similarity with spouse       5.76        1.23          4.23       2.27             24          2.140*
Political similarity with peers          4.12        1.31          4.38       2.18             23          -.356

* statistical significance p=.043


Table 3. Level of interest, concern, involvement in politics  and the importance of voting of both the US born sample and the Foreign born sample



                                    US born sample              Foreign born sample       df         t
                                    Mean        SD                  Mean        SD 

Level of interest          5.46    0.96                      3.66       2.05                   23      2.82* 
Level of concern          6.00    1.00                      4.00       2.08                   24      3.12**
Importance of voting   6.84    0.37                     5.30       2.13                   24      2.55***

*p=.010; ** p=.005; *** p= .017
 

Table 4. Intention to vote in the coming elections 


                                     US born sample        Foreign born sample        t(23)
                                     Mean        SD            Mean        SD


Planning to vote         1.00           .00             1.75        .62               -4.358*

*P=.000



Discussion

 
 
     The process of political socialization as mentioned earlier is a process that  is specific to each individual according to his/her own experiences and culture. This particular study was meant to examine the possible differences in the process of political socialization between two samples,  native born Americans and foreign born Americans. The hypothesis of the study stated that there are significant differences between the two groups in terms of the sources of political socialization that they adopt. The analysis performed on the data collected through a experimenter-generated survey supported the hypothesis. An independent t-test performed on the variable that answered the question regarding  the best way to stay informed  revealed a significant difference between the two groups. The foreign born sample rated as their best way  of staying politically informed as television news, whereas the native born sample was more evenly distributed across the variables of television news, newspapers, internet and radio( Martinelli and Chaffee, 1995). These results could be due to the fact that television news is more accessible and more economically feasible than  other means to the immigrant population. Also, the immigrant sample averaged 49 years old, therefore there is a high likelihood of them immigrating to this country fairly late in life and still encountering language barriers, therefore the images and the spoken word on television would be more comprehensible and easier for them to process. 
 
  Research has show that television news is not only more accessible, but in fact it is more simplified and also more engaging when compared to other forms of media such as radio, newspapers and magazines (Garramone and Atkin, 1986). On the other hand, print news that appears in newspapers and newsmagazines has a greater depth, more details and more domain specific terminology that is difficult to understand by someone who does not have much knowledge in the particular area or does not have a good grasp on the English vocabulary. Garramone and Atkin (1986) in their study regarding different media sources and political socialization in non-voter young adults, predicted that the deeper, more detailed and more educative the form of media is, the more political involvement  and participation will occur (Garramone and Atkin, 1986).
Another variable that was analyzed was the impact of family on one’s political attitudes and behaviors. The results of this study did not support the direction predicted by the hypothesis drawn from Bandura’s social theory that states that individuals tend to model and imitate those in their family in their attitudes and behaviors (Aronson, 2002). 
 
   In terms of political similarity to their spouses, the immigrant sample was less likely to have similar beliefs to those of their spouses, than the American born population . This could be due to the fact that in the case of the immigrant sample there is a lack of concern and interest in politics that could lead to lack of communication regarding politics between spouses. Also, as a recent immigrant and newly naturalized citizen there are other concerns such as employment, education and economic issues that are priority in their lives. 

Also as stated by the hypothesis, the two samples differed significantly in their levels of interest and concern about politics, but also in the degree to which they perceive voting as important. The results showed that the US born population was far more interested and concerned about politics. This can be due to their better understanding of politics thus resulting in a higher sense of external and internal sense of efficacy (Craig, 1990). It can be noticed that the foreign born sample was composed of participants with very different background, and especially political background. A good number of foreign born participants came from a country that did not have a democratic form of government, therefore there was less power in the hands of the regular person which probably lead to a sense of internal political inefficacy in which the person feels that he/she possesses no power to impact the rules, leadership and the decision-making in his/her own country (Craig, 1990). Furthermore on the same issue of political efficacy, the results of the study showed that the foreign born sample was less likely to vote, which is connected to the same feeling of inefficacy in which the individual feels that he/she has no power to impact the society they live in (Craig, 1990). 
 

  These findings further strengthen what the literature has already shown, that there are differences in the way immigrants and native born Americans understand and develop their political attitudes. This is important as their involvement in society and the civic life relies on their understanding of the political life (Galston, 2001). Research has shown that if an individual does not understand the current state of  the political arena in their country and has no strong knowledge regarding the political issues, they will be less likely to get civically engaged either by voting or volunteering in their community (Galston, 2001). These findings in the literature regarding political efficacy and political knowledge as they tie into political and civic involvement were reflected also in the present study. The foreign born sample that had less political knowledge and also felt political inefficient were less likely to vote and get involved, than the participants in the US born sample who were more concerned, interested in politics and decided to vote in the coming election. The US born sample claimed that their main source of political information is the newspaper which is believed to be a form of media that conveys information that is more detailed, more in depth and that requires interest and some knowledge in the particular area (Garramone and Atkin, 1986).
 
  This study provides with further evidence, even though the results might only be applicable to the particular samples, with the basis for further research. In order to better understand the process of political socialization as it occurs in the lives of both native American citizens and foreign born American citizens, the samples must be more representative, both in terms of their number and their generalizability. Also, due to the myriad of political systems, when investigating the processes that characterize the life of an immigrant it is essential to look at their own geographical and cultural background and make particular generalizations to their particular ethnic group. The further studies should include a variable that will compare specific immigrant population from very different and also very similar political systems to that of the United States.


 The present investigated the possible differences in the process of political socialization between two very different samples: the US born Americans and the foreign born naturalized Americans. The results of the study supported the hypothesis, thus concluding that the two samples differ in terms of the sources they use to acquire their political information and also in the level of interest and concern about politics that is reflected as well in the degree to which they are involved in their communities, their states and their country of residence.




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Appendices

Apendix A       Apendix B       Apendix C
 

Appendix A


Political Background Information

Age                    Sex 

Profession                Employer 

Level of education (choose from:)

Grade completed in school 
High School 
Some College_________________________
Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science_______
Master of Arts/Master of Science__________
PhD or equivalent_____________________ 
 

1.    Where did you live for most of your life?
 

2.    Were you born in the United States?

1.Yes(please skip to question 5)    2.No
 

3.    What year did you come to the United States? _________________________________
 

4.    What year  did you become a US citizen?______________________________________
 

5.    How interested are you in politics?

Not interested at all        1    2       3      4        5         6           7       Very interested
 
 

6.    How concerned are you about current political events?

Not concerned at all             1       2       3      4        5         6           7       Very concerned
 
 

7.    Do you believe voting is important?

Not important at all             1       2       3      4        5         6           7       Very important
 

8.    Are you registered to vote?
    1. Yes        2. No
 

9.    If yes, what political party are you registered with?

1.Republican
2.Democrat
3.Independent
4.Other_____________
 

10.    How would you describe your political ideology?

Liberal    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    Conservative

11.    Are you planning to vote in the upcoming election?

    1. Yes        2. No        3.Undecided

12.    How politically involved do you consider yourself?

Not involved at all     1    2    3    4    5    6    7    Very involved

13.    What would you say is the most crucial source of political information for you?

14.    What impacted you most in your decision to be politically involved? (choose one)

    Newspapers        TV News        TV Ads    Family             Friends/Peers 

15.    Did you receive any political information when in school (either middle schools or high school) from your courses ( e.g. civic education)
    1. Yes        2. No

16.    If yes what courses ?

17.    In high school or college were you involved in extracurricular activities? ( if yes please name them)

18.     How similar are your political beliefs to those of your parents?

Very different     1    2    3    4    5    6    7    Very similar
 

19.    How similar are your political beliefs to those of your family(spouse, children)?

Very different     1    2    3    4    5    6    7    Very similar
 

20.    How similar are your political beliefs to those of your peers?

Very different     1    2    3    4    5    6    7    Very similar
 
 

21.    During a typical week, approximately how much do you use the major media and these other sources to get your political information? Please use the following scale to answer these questions:

1= less than 1 hour a week
2= 1-3 hours per week
3= 3-5 hours per week
4= 5-7 hours per week
5= 7-14 hours per week(what is, an average of about 2-3 hours per day)
6= 14-21 hours per week (that is, an average of about 2-3 hours per day)
7= more than 21 hours per week ( that is, an average of more than 3 hours a day)

Newspapers                       1    2    3    4    5    6    7
Magazines                         1    2    3    4    5    6    7
TV News                           1    2    3    4    5    6    7
Other TV Programming    1    2    3    4    5    6    7
Radio News                       1    2    3    4    5    6    7
Internet Websites             1    2    3    4    5    6    7 
Discussion with family      1    2    3    4    5    6    7
Discussion with friends     1    2    3    4    5    6    7
 

22.    Please briefly describe a news story that you saw on TV regarding either a political candidate or a political issue.
 

23.    Please briefly describe a political advertisement positive or negative that you watched.
 

24.    What do you think it is the best way to stay informed ?(please circle ONE)
 

TV  News 

 Newspapers 

Internet 

Radio 

TV ads 

Friends 

Family
 



 
Appendix B


Dear employee,
My name is Cristina Medrea and I am Senior Psychology major at Saint Anselm College.
I would like to ask for your help with my senior thesis project which is  part of my requirements for graduation here at Saint Anselm College.
I am working on a project that requires me to gather information regarding people’s attitudes towards politics. Specifically, I am looking at various background variables such as age, gender, nationality and media preference. Research has found that these types of variables may have a significant impact on people’s political beliefs.
Attached to this letter you will find a survey of 22 questions that seek to answer the questions addressed in my project.
This survey is totally voluntarily and confidential and the researcher will not share your personal information with anyone at anytime. Also this is not a part of your job, therefore if you decide not to do it , it will have no affect on your relationship with the college or your supervisor. Please answer all questions carefully and thoughtfully  and on your own, without collaborating with others. I would also like to remind you that there are no right or wrong answers, and that this is merely data for a project. By completing this survey, you are giving me your informed consent for me to use these data.
If you decide to help me with this project please answer ALL questions and return it to the following address by intercampus mail by October 20, 2004:
Cristina Medrea
Box 1366
100 Saint Anselm Drive 
Manchester, NH 03102

For more information or if you would like a summary of the results please feel free to contact me at cmedrea@anselm.edu or at the mailing address above.
Thank you for your cooperation. 

Sincerely ,Cristina Medrea


 
Appendix   C


Dear friend,
My name is Cristina Medrea and I am Senior Psychology major at Saint Anselm College, Manchester NH.
I would like to ask for your help with my senior thesis project which is  part of my requirements for graduation here at Saint Anselm College.
I am working on a project that requires me to gather information regarding people’s attitudes towards politics. Specifically, I am looking at various background variables such as age, gender, nationality and media preference. Research has found that these types of variables may have a significant impact on people’s political beliefs.
Attached to this letter you will find a survey of 22 questions that seek to answer the questions addressed in my project.
This survey is totally voluntarily and confidential and the researcher will not share your personal information with anyone at anytime. Also this is not a part of your job, therefore if you decide not to do it , it will have no affect on your relationship with the English for New Americans Program  or your supervisor. Please answer all questions carefully and thoughtfully  and on your own, without collaborating with others. I would also like to remind you that there are no right or wrong answers, and that this is merely data for a project. By completing this survey, you are giving me your informed consent for me to use these data.
If you decide to help me with this project please answer ALL questions and return it to  Angela Spitia, the director of  English for New Americans or Hal D’Amico by  October 20, 2004.
For more information or if you would like a summary of the results please feel free to contact me cmedrea@anselm.edu or at the mailing address above.
Thank you for your cooperation. 



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