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How the Internet Affects Political Communication of Individuals - A Longitudinal Survey of Onliners and Offliners
Unformatted Document Text:  ICA-6-10602 10 This question can be answered with analysis of variance. With this method, it is possible to measure the influence of single factors on the dependent variable, at the same time controlling Independent or Control Variables. Table 5: Explained variance of online-access and various control variables (only significant effects are shown; η 2) DV: Writing letters to the editor overall Talking about politics overall R 2 .05 .27 IV: Online access .02 .03 CV: Political interest .18 Support for democracy .01 Search for indiv. benefit .01 Political efficacy .03 Political knowledge .02 Level of education (.01) .01 This table shows selected political activities in columns, they serve as "Dependent Variables" (DV), and online access, above, marked IV for "Independent Variable"; Below several other CVs, "Control Variables", often tested in participation research as explaining factors for political activities. The higher the value in the cells, the more meaningful the variable is for accounting for differences. Surprisingly, the relevance of online access is not smaller than that of the other variables - except the strong variable of "political interest". Especially considering the scale of writing letters to the editor, and the intensity of personal discussions (i.e. strongly interactive activities), internet access can clarify the variance to a large extent. It can be seen that even after taking into consideration education, political interest, and numerous other factors, internet access accounts for about 3 % of the variance of the variable “talking about politics with friends”. Not surprisingly, the variable “political interest” can explain more, but there are also some variables in this model that have less influence than internet access. These findings raise the next question that can not be answered until the data to be gathered in January/February 2003 are analyzed: What factors are responsible for this stimulation of political activity online and offline? It can be expected that online access has some influence on individual evaluations of costs and benefits of the different means of communication. Online communication may be evaluated either as more effective or as less costly than conventional forms of communication and by this enhance the amount of communication and participation.

Authors: Emmer, Martin. and Vowe, Gerhard.
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ICA-6-10602
10
This question can be answered with analysis of variance. With this method, it is possible to
measure the influence of single factors on the dependent variable, at the same time controlling
Independent or Control Variables.

Table 5: Explained variance of online-access and various control
variables (only significant effects are shown;
η
2)
DV: Writing letters to the
editor overall
Talking about
politics overall
R
2
.05 .27
IV:
Online access
.02 .03
CV: Political interest
.18
Support for democracy
.01
Search for indiv. benefit
.01
Political efficacy
.03
Political knowledge
.02
Level of education
(.01)
.01
This table shows selected political activities in columns, they serve as "Dependent Variables"
(DV), and online access, above, marked IV for "Independent Variable"; Below several other
CVs, "Control Variables", often tested in participation research as explaining factors for
political activities. The higher the value in the cells, the more meaningful the variable is for
accounting for differences.
Surprisingly, the relevance of online access is not smaller than that of the other variables -
except the strong variable of "political interest". Especially considering the scale of writing
letters to the editor, and the intensity of personal discussions (i.e. strongly interactive
activities), internet access can clarify the variance to a large extent. It can be seen that even
after taking into consideration education, political interest, and numerous other factors,
internet access accounts for about 3 % of the variance of the variable “talking about politics
with friends”. Not surprisingly, the variable “political interest” can explain more, but there are
also some variables in this model that have less influence than internet access.
These findings raise the next question that can not be answered until the data to be gathered in
January/February 2003 are analyzed: What factors are responsible for this stimulation of
political activity online and offline? It can be expected that online access has some influence
on individual evaluations of costs and benefits of the different means of communication.
Online communication may be evaluated either as more effective or as less costly than
conventional forms of communication and by this enhance the amount of communication and
participation.


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