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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 communication scholars, suggests some link between relational motivations and frequency of discussing public affairs and politics. Hence, this study addresses two important questions: RQ1. What is the relationship between social motivations and interpersonal discussion of public affairs? RQ2. What is the relationship between social motivations and online discussion of public affairs? Communication and Civic Participation Previous research examining the relationship between frequency of public discussion and civic engagement is rich and vast. A consistent finding is that public discussion is significantly and positively associated with participation in both civic and political activities (Gil de Zúñiga & Valenzuela, 2011; Katz & Lazarsfeld, 1955; Klofstad, 2007; Kim, Wyatt, & Katz, 1999; McLeod et al., 1999; Shah et al., 2005; Valenzuela, Kim, & Gil de Zúñiga, in press). The reasons for this positive link are manifold. Conversations provide opportunities to exchange information, discuss about issues that affect the community and expose individuals to concrete ways on how to address these issues and become more involved in civic life (Gastil & Dillard, 1999; Klofstad, 2007; McClurg, 2003; McLeod et al., 1999; Rojas et al., 2005). Thus, H3: Interpersonal discussion of public affairs will be positively related to civic participation. The positive influence of citizen-to-citizen communication on participation includes computer-mediated and online forms of discussion, with evidence increasingly pointing out a complementary role between interpersonal and online forms of communication (Cho et al., 2009; Ji-Young, 2006; Kavanaugh & Patterson, 2002; Matei & Ball-Rokeach, 2002). Although the 6

Authors: Valenzuela, Sebastian., Jeong, Sun Ho. and Gil de Zuniga, Homero.
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Motivations for Public Discussion
communication scholars, suggests some link between relational motivations and frequency of 
discussing public affairs and politics.
Hence, this study addresses two important questions: 
RQ1. What is the relationship between social motivations and interpersonal discussion of 
public affairs?
RQ2. What is the relationship between social motivations and online discussion of public 
Communication and Civic Participation
Previous research examining the relationship between frequency of public discussion and 
civic engagement is rich and vast. A consistent finding is that public discussion is significantly and 
positively associated with participation in both civic and political activities (Gil de Zúñiga & 
Valenzuela, 2011; Katz & Lazarsfeld, 1955; Klofstad, 2007; Kim, Wyatt, & Katz, 1999; McLeod 
et al., 1999; Shah et al., 2005; Valenzuela, Kim, & Gil de Zúñiga, in press). The reasons for this 
positive link are manifold. Conversations provide opportunities to exchange information, discuss 
about issues that affect the community and expose individuals to concrete ways on how to address 
these issues and become more involved in civic life (Gastil & Dillard, 1999; Klofstad, 2007; 
McClurg, 2003; McLeod et al., 1999; Rojas et al., 2005). Thus,
H3: Interpersonal discussion of public affairs will be positively related to civic 
The positive influence of citizen-to-citizen communication on participation includes 
computer-mediated and online forms of discussion, with evidence increasingly pointing out a 
complementary role between interpersonal and online forms of communication (Cho et al., 2009; 
Ji-Young, 2006; Kavanaugh & Patterson, 2002; Matei & Ball-Rokeach, 2002). Although the 

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