Term of Award

Spring 1997

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social Science

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Sociology

Committee Chair

W. Jay Strickland

Committee Member 1

Jie Zhang

Committee Member 2

V. Richard Persico

Abstract

This study examined webmasters' sense of responsibility for information accuracy on the World Wide Web. Hypotheses suggested for this research were based on the foundations of Frame Analysis theory as described by Erving Goffman. The major dependent variable was the sense of responsibility for information accuracy. The major independent variables were the degree of personal identity salience, professional identity salience, tenure, anonymity, the organizational accountability of the webmaster, and technical nature of the webmasters' primary occupation.

Questionnaire data were collected from 490 webmasters worldwide through simple random sampling of all URLs indexed at the Yahoo! indexing site. Over three-quarters of the respondents were male, and about half were between 18 and 30 years old. Correlation analyses demonstrated that the degree of personal identity salience, professional identity salience, degree of anonymity, and degree of organizational accountability were found to be negatively related to the webmasters' sense of responsibility for information accuracy. Stepwise linear multiple regression analyses showed that the sense of responsibility for information accuracy was weaker for respondents with a lower level of organizational accountability. This study also demonstrated the need for further development of Internet-based data collection techniques.

Files over 10MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "Save as..."

Share

COinS