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Investigating the Role of Identities and Opinion Leadership on Risk Information Seeking and Sharing about Proposed Natural Gas Drilling in New York’s Marcellus Shale
Unformatted Document Text:  19 Interviewee also commented on the role personal characteristics played in shaping this personal need. For example, one member of a landowner coalition did not consider his/her involvement with this organization the reason for this need; rather, s/he was the type of person who wants to remain informed about what’s going on in the surrounding community. Furthermore, interviewees also commented on situations where they felt a personal obligation to remain informed because of both role and personality-based contexts. As one elected official observed I like so many of the issues that we deal with, which is…why I decided to run for [elected office]…I’m really interested, and I would normally want to stay informed on those issues [such as gas drilling] whether I was elected or not, but obviously I [have] a responsibility to have a high level of accurate information about what’s going on in my [area]. However, they did not comment on issues about which they wanted to know that might differ between these contexts. Like the case for social pressure, the focus was on being up to speed on as many facets of gas drilling as possible. Thus, Marcellus Shale appears to be such a large issue with multiple dimensions that one needs to find out as much as possible about it. RQ 3: Opinion Leader Identity Context and Communication Behavior The third research question asked whether and how the aforementioned opinion leader identity context(s) influences the types of information that individuals search for, avoid, and share. Most interviewees spent considerable amounts of time seeking drilling-related information. Several issues about which individuals looked for information appeared to transcend identity contexts. These issues included basic drilling-related information (what is horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing?), economic issues, infrastructure issues (such as housing availability and road quality), and water quality issues. Furthermore, being an elected official was an important context in which interviewees perceived a need to seek information. The interpersonal

Authors: Clarke, Chris.
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Interviewee also commented on the role personal characteristics played in shaping this personal 
need. For example, one member of a landowner coalition did not consider his/her involvement 
with this organization the reason for this need; rather, s/he was the type of person who wants to 
remain informed about what’s going on in the surrounding community. Furthermore, 
interviewees also commented on situations where they felt a personal obligation to remain 
informed because of both role and personality-based contexts. As one elected official observed
I like so many of the issues that we deal with, which is…why I decided to run for [elected 
office]…I’m really interested, and I would normally want to stay informed on those issues 
[such as gas drilling] whether I was elected or not, but obviously I [have] a responsibility to 
have a high level of accurate information about what’s going on in my [area].
However, they did not comment on issues about which they wanted to know that might differ 
between these contexts. Like the case for social pressure, the focus was on being up to speed on 
as many facets of gas drilling as possible. Thus, Marcellus Shale appears to be such a large issue 
with multiple dimensions that one needs to find out as much as possible about it.
RQ 3: Opinion Leader Identity Context and Communication Behavior
The third research question asked whether and how the aforementioned opinion leader 
identity context(s) influences the types of information that individuals search for, avoid, and 
share. Most interviewees spent considerable amounts of time seeking drilling-related information. 
Several issues about which individuals looked for information appeared to transcend identity 
contexts. These issues included basic drilling-related information (what is horizontal drilling and 
hydraulic fracturing?), economic issues, infrastructure issues (such as housing availability and 
road quality), and water quality issues. Furthermore, being an elected official was an important 
context in which interviewees perceived a need to seek information. The interpersonal 

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