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Framing Public Discussion of Gay Civil Unions
Unformatted Document Text:  Framing Public Discussion 32 Appendix: Sampling and Study Design Initial Recruitment The Project recruited study participants from a survey panel maintained by Knowledge Networks, Inc. of Menlo Park, California. The panel includes a large number of households (in the tens of thousands) that have agreed to accept free WebTV equipment and service in exchange for completing periodic surveys on line. The Knowledge Networks Panel Sample begins with a list-assisted RDD sample provided by a Survey Sampling, Inc., (SSI). Samples are acquired approximately once a month to ensure that they are drawn from up-to-date databases. Numbers in the SSI sample are then matched against a database of numbers known to be in the WebTV network. These numbers are then contacted, and households are asked to participate as members of the Knowledge Network panel. In exchange for completing surveys (approximately 40 minutes of cumulative survey time per household per month), panelists receive WebTV equipment and access free of charge. The recruitment process results in a response rate of approximately 55-60 percent. It produces a sample of American households that closely approximates the population at large, with a very slight under-representation of minorities and the elderly (Knowledge Networks, 2000). In February 2000, a random sample of American citizens age 18 and older (N = 3967) was drawn from the panel. The aim of the initial sample survey was to recruit participants into three groups for the Electronic Dialogue project: first, a main group of people who would participate in monthly, hour-long moderated discussions about the presidential election in small groups (target N = 900); second, a control group of people who would complete all monthly surveys associated with the project but would not engage in online discussions (target N = 100); and a third group of people who would complete only the project’s initial baseline surveys in February and March 2000 and the final, post-project surveys one year later (target N = 500). The third group was intended as a control for panel effects, and also as a potential “set-aside” pool of new recruits for use should attrition necessitate additions to either of the two panel groups. All members of the main discussion panel and the survey-only control panel were released from all obligations to complete other surveys for Knowledge Networks, aside from those issued as part of the Electronic Dialogue project. Assignment to the three groups (main discussion panel, survey-only control panel, and pre/post only “set-aside” group) was randomized. Overall, 51 percent of those recruited agreed to participate and completed consent forms, with overall acceptance rates roughly similar across the three groups of respondents. The final number of recruited project participants was 2014. Of these, 1076 were assigned to the main discussion panel, 168 to the survey-only control panel, and the remainder to the project pre/post only group. Analysis of group characteristics (demographics, age, race, gender, political interest, ideology, and party leanings) confirmed that the randomization was successful. The Baseline Surveys Two baseline surveys were conducted, the first from February 8 to March 10, and the second from March 10-23. All three groups (discussion, survey-only control, and set-aside) were contacted. The surveys included extensive measures of media use, interest in the presidential

Authors: Price, Vincent., Nir, Lilach. and Cappella, Joseph.
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Framing Public Discussion
32
Appendix: Sampling and Study Design

Initial Recruitment
The Project recruited study participants from a survey panel maintained by Knowledge
Networks, Inc. of Menlo Park, California. The panel includes a large number of households (in
the tens of thousands) that have agreed to accept free WebTV equipment and service in exchange
for completing periodic surveys on line. The Knowledge Networks Panel Sample begins with a
list-assisted RDD sample provided by a Survey Sampling, Inc., (SSI). Samples are acquired
approximately once a month to ensure that they are drawn from up-to-date databases. Numbers
in the SSI sample are then matched against a database of numbers known to be in the WebTV
network. These numbers are then contacted, and households are asked to participate as members
of the Knowledge Network panel. In exchange for completing surveys (approximately 40
minutes of cumulative survey time per household per month), panelists receive WebTV
equipment and access free of charge. The recruitment process results in a response rate of
approximately 55-60 percent. It produces a sample of American households that closely
approximates the population at large, with a very slight under-representation of minorities and
the elderly (Knowledge Networks, 2000).

In February 2000, a random sample of American citizens age 18 and older (N = 3967)
was drawn from the panel. The aim of the initial sample survey was to recruit participants into
three groups for the Electronic Dialogue project: first, a main group of people who would
participate in monthly, hour-long moderated discussions about the presidential election in small
groups (target N = 900); second, a control group of people who would complete all monthly
surveys associated with the project but would not engage in online discussions (target N = 100);
and a third group of people who would complete only the project’s initial baseline surveys in
February and March 2000 and the final, post-project surveys one year later (target N = 500). The
third group was intended as a control for panel effects, and also as a potential “set-aside” pool of
new recruits for use should attrition necessitate additions to either of the two panel groups. All
members of the main discussion panel and the survey-only control panel were released from all
obligations to complete other surveys for Knowledge Networks, aside from those issued as part
of the Electronic Dialogue project. Assignment to the three groups (main discussion panel,
survey-only control panel, and pre/post only “set-aside” group) was randomized.

Overall, 51 percent of those recruited agreed to participate and completed consent forms,
with overall acceptance rates roughly similar across the three groups of respondents. The final
number of recruited project participants was 2014. Of these, 1076 were assigned to the main
discussion panel, 168 to the survey-only control panel, and the remainder to the project pre/post
only group. Analysis of group characteristics (demographics, age, race, gender, political interest,
ideology, and party leanings) confirmed that the randomization was successful.
The Baseline Surveys
Two baseline surveys were conducted, the first from February 8 to March 10, and the
second from March 10-23. All three groups (discussion, survey-only control, and set-aside) were
contacted. The surveys included extensive measures of media use, interest in the presidential


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