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Deliberation or Small Talk? Motivations for Public Discussion and their Effects on Civic Engagement
Unformatted Document Text:  Motivations for Public Discussion discussion undermine civic action by triggering a superficial experience of engagement that leads to nowhere. Despite the new insights shed by this study, the analysis has several limitations. By employing survey data, we are constrained to self-reports of motivations, which may yield inaccurate measures due to social desirability bias. To the degree that civic motivations are inflated by the respondents of our survey, however, the tests examining the role of non-civic motivations are truly conservative. Another limitation is the cross-sectional nature of the data employed, which is not well-suited for testing causal-effects relationships and cannot properly address issues of endogeneity between explanatory and outcome variables. We have addressed this possibility somewhat by employing a host of control variables and structural equation modeling. Limitations notwithstanding, our study contributes provides an initial foundation for political communication research investigating the origins of citizen-to-citizen communication. Future research will elaborate on these findings by replicating the current analysis and testing the role of additional discussion goals. 17

Authors: Valenzuela, Sebastian., Jeong, Sun Ho. and Gil de Zuniga, Homero.
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Motivations for Public Discussion
discussion undermine civic action by triggering a superficial experience of engagement that leads 
to nowhere.
Despite the new insights shed by this study, the analysis has several limitations. By 
employing survey data, we are constrained to self-reports of motivations, which may yield 
inaccurate measures due to social desirability bias. To the degree that civic motivations are 
inflated by the respondents of our survey, however, the tests examining the role of non-civic 
motivations are truly conservative. Another limitation is the cross-sectional nature of the data 
employed, which is not well-suited for testing causal-effects relationships and cannot properly 
address issues of endogeneity between explanatory and outcome variables. We have addressed this 
possibility somewhat by employing a host of control variables and structural equation modeling.
Limitations notwithstanding, our study contributes provides an initial foundation for 
political communication research investigating the origins of citizen-to-citizen communication. 
Future research will elaborate on these findings by replicating the current analysis and testing the 
role of additional discussion goals. 

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