Catalog of Holdings

Study Report

Study Number: BA-001-001-1-1-United States-ICPSR-1957

Subject Area: Communications and Mass Media

Bibliographic Citation: News media survey, March-April 1957.  [machine-readable data file] / Davis, Robert C.  [principal investigator(s)] / Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research  [distributor].

Originating Archive Number: 3511

Access Status: Access limited to UW-Madison campus

Documentation: Hard copy codebook.

Abstract: Information for the study was obtained from 1,919 respondents, 5 cards of data per respondent. The survey, sponsored by the National Association of Science Writers, was conducted in March and April, 1957 with an area probability sample of the adult United States population living in private dwelling units. Closed and open-ended questions were used to explore the role of the mass media in informing the public about developments in science and to collect data on public attitudes toward science and scientists. Information was gathered about the respondents' use of newspapers, magazines, radio, and television, and about stories and programs of interest. Parallel questions for each medium ascertained the content of recently read or heard science stories and an evaluation of their form of presentation. Respondents were asked which medium was their major source of entertainment, news, and science information. More general questions probed the respondent's opinion of the effect of science on society, of the limitations of science, and of what scientific study means. Additional questions addressed the respondent's conception of causality, views on the character and specific attributes of scientists, and the freedom of scientists to engage in any kind of research. Approximately 25% of the survey was repeated in a national survey in Spring 1958, six months after the launching of Sputnik. Personal data reported included age, sex, race, education, marital status, family composition, religious preference, and group memberships. The data contain amp and dash codes. For questions repeated from this study, see the Economic Behavior Program's Survey of Consumer Attitudes and Behavior, Spring 1958: News Media (ICPSR 3632) .

SUBJECT TERMS: dwellings. mass media. occupations. political attitudes and behavior. science. scientists. United States.


Davis, Robert C. The Public Impact of Science in the Mass Media: A Report on a Nationwide Survey for the National Association of Science Writers. Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research, 1958. 254 pages. (Available from University Microfilms). Davis, Robert C. ''The Impact of Mass Communication,'' in Melvin Kranzberg and Carroll W. Pursell, Jr.(eds.), Technology in Western Civilization, Vol. II New York: Oxford University Press, 1967. pp. 323-334. Withey, Stephen B. ''Sputnik: Some Consequences, Expectations, and Attitudes.'' Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research, 1958. 17 pages.

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