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Framing Public Discussion of Gay Civil Unions
Unformatted Document Text:  Framing Public Discussion 12 following a prompt issued by the online moderators. Due to technical problems – server connection timeouts during the log-in procedures – six groups scheduled on the same day were not able to conduct their conversations as planned. This left a total of 54 group discussions. Twenty-nine percent of eligible participants (N = 241) attended the discussions, in groups averaging between 4 and 5 participants apiece. 2 The vast majority of discussion attendees (89 percent) completed the pre-event survey, fielded between October 20 and October 29; and 94 percent completed the post-event survey, fielded immediately following discussions and the elections, from November 8 through November 21. Roughly 85 percent (N = 204) completed both pre- and post- surveys. The study employed a 2 × 3 experimental design. One factor – the frame condition – employed two levels corresponding to each of two alternate scripts (“civil union” frame and “homosexual marriage” frame) that were randomly assigned to the half of the 54 groups. The second factor – the group composition condition – had three levels corresponding to liberal, conservative, or heterogeneous groups respectively. One third of the groups were composed of liberals and Democratic Party identifiers; one third were made up of conservatives and Republican Party identifiers; and one third were constituted of members drawn from across the entire political spectrum. Group composition manipulation. At the outset of the project, all those who agreed to participate in Electronic Dialogue discussion were assigned to one of three types of groups: homogeneously liberal groups (n = 20 groups); homogeneously conservative groups (n = 20 groups); or politically heterogeneous groups (n = 20 groups). Details of the group assignment 2 Generally, 30 to 40 percent of eligible participants attended most discussion events over the course of the project. Just over 70 percent attended at least one online event, while about 40 percent attended four or more events (see Appendix).

Authors: Price, Vincent., Nir, Lilach. and Cappella, Joseph.
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Framing Public Discussion
12
following a prompt issued by the online moderators.
Due to technical problems – server connection timeouts during the log-in procedures –
six groups scheduled on the same day were not able to conduct their conversations as planned.
This left a total of 54 group discussions. Twenty-nine percent of eligible participants (N = 241)
attended the discussions, in groups averaging between 4 and 5 participants apiece.
2
The vast
majority of discussion attendees (89 percent) completed the pre-event survey, fielded between
October 20 and October 29; and 94 percent completed the post-event survey, fielded immediately
following discussions and the elections, from November 8 through November 21. Roughly 85
percent (N = 204) completed both pre- and post- surveys.
The study employed a 2 × 3 experimental design. One factor – the frame condition –
employed two levels corresponding to each of two alternate scripts (“civil union” frame and
“homosexual marriage” frame) that were randomly assigned to the half of the 54 groups. The
second factor – the group composition condition – had three levels corresponding to liberal,
conservative, or heterogeneous groups respectively. One third of the groups were composed of
liberals and Democratic Party identifiers; one third were made up of conservatives and
Republican Party identifiers; and one third were constituted of members drawn from across the
entire political spectrum.
Group composition manipulation. At the outset of the project, all those who agreed to
participate in Electronic Dialogue discussion were assigned to one of three types of groups:
homogeneously liberal groups (n = 20 groups); homogeneously conservative groups (n = 20
groups); or politically heterogeneous groups (n = 20 groups). Details of the group assignment
2
Generally, 30 to 40 percent of eligible participants attended most discussion events over the
course of the project. Just over 70 percent attended at least one online event, while about 40
percent attended four or more events (see Appendix).


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