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An Experimental Evaluation of Readers' Perceptions of Media Bias
Unformatted Document Text:  Media Bias - 9 Names of people, including the putative author and those of the fictitious speakers, were blacked out on the page for the purpose of avoiding any possibility of source-related effects such as those discovered by Roumer and her colleagues. Participants were told that this was for the protection of the privacy of the people in the article. We used cut-and-paste to create "A" and "B" versions of each story. In each story, we alternated supporting and opposing viewpoints: In the "A" version a supporting point was listed first and in the "B" version an opposing point was first. We did not expect order effects (Hovland, 1957/1966), but we created the alternative versions of each story to explicitly examine the possibility of order effects and allow us to eliminate them if necessary. Instrument construction Along with the dummy articles containing the assortment of types of paragraph, we needed to manipulate the cued-status of the participants in addition to gathering other data central to this study. In the instrument, participants first completed informed consent forms and then read an instruction sheet explaining that they would read and respond to a newspaper article. The questionnaires for participants who were being cued to expect biased material described the article as "potentially biased" three times, including twice in the first paragraph. The instructions for the other participants were identical except for the omission of that phrase. Participants next read one of the six forms of stimulus article. We asked them to respond to it immediately on a set of nine semantic differential-type items: bad/good, informative/uninformative, biased/balanced, accurate/mistaken, well-written/incoherent, colorful/dull, complete/lacking detail, fair one-sided and nice/mean. We intended to use the biased/balanced item as a manipulation check. At this point, as an aided-recall device, we presented the participants with another copy of the article they had already read and asked them to circle any portions of it that they had thought were biased when they had read it the first time. Participants also had the options of selecting items indicating that they had thought the article was entirely biased or entirely free from bias. Next, participants completed 13 items from the Short Form Dogmatism Scale (Troldahl & Powell, 1966). This was simply for the purpose of creating an experimental blind. Finally, participants completed a series of demographic and life-style-oriented items, e.g. items asking for self- reports of gender, class year and religiosity. The key items were whether the respondents lived on campus (relevant to the housing issue), whether they had a car on campus (relevant to the parking issue), and two items concerned with

Authors: D'Alessio, Dave.
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Media Bias - 9
Names of people, including the putative author and those of the fictitious speakers, were blacked out on the
page for the purpose of avoiding any possibility of source-related effects such as those discovered by Roumer and her
colleagues. Participants were told that this was for the protection of the privacy of the people in the article.
We used cut-and-paste to create "A" and "B" versions of each story. In each story, we alternated supporting
and opposing viewpoints: In the "A" version a supporting point was listed first and in the "B" version an opposing point
was first. We did not expect order effects (Hovland, 1957/1966), but we created the alternative versions of each story to
explicitly examine the possibility of order effects and allow us to eliminate them if necessary.
Instrument construction
Along with the dummy articles containing the assortment of types of paragraph, we needed to manipulate the
cued-status of the participants in addition to gathering other data central to this study.
In the instrument, participants first completed informed consent forms and then read an instruction sheet
explaining that they would read and respond to a newspaper article. The questionnaires for participants who were being
cued to expect biased material described the article as "potentially biased" three times, including twice in the first
paragraph. The instructions for the other participants were identical except for the omission of that phrase.
Participants next read one of the six forms of stimulus article. We asked them to respond to it immediately on
a set of nine semantic differential-type items: bad/good, informative/uninformative, biased/balanced,
accurate/mistaken, well-written/incoherent, colorful/dull, complete/lacking detail, fair one-sided and nice/mean. We
intended to use the biased/balanced item as a manipulation check.
At this point, as an aided-recall device, we presented the participants with another copy of the article they had
already read and asked them to circle any portions of it that they had thought were biased when they had read it the first
time. Participants also had the options of selecting items indicating that they had thought the article was entirely biased
or entirely free from bias.
Next, participants completed 13 items from the Short Form Dogmatism Scale (Troldahl & Powell, 1966). This
was simply for the purpose of creating an experimental blind.
Finally, participants completed a series of demographic and life-style-oriented items, e.g. items asking for self-
reports of gender, class year and religiosity. The key items were whether the respondents lived on campus (relevant to
the housing issue), whether they had a car on campus (relevant to the parking issue), and two items concerned with


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