Table of Contents

Comment Icon0 This study involves qualitative data collection, which is effective in gaining rich and in-depth data through an exhaustive examination of cases, direct observation of the phenomenon, and real-time interaction with real people. This qualitative study takes the assumption that “human behavior is not random or idiosyncratic” (Bogdan & Biklen, 1998), and further adds that “[t]he search for universal laws is rejected in favor of detailed descriptions of the concrete experience of life within a particular culture and of the social rules or the social patterns that constitute it” (Potter, 1996). Human behavior “may be patterned and regular, but this is not due to pre-existing laws waiting to be discovered,” (Neuman, 2000). Furthermore, if human behavior is not individually peculiar, then both quantitative and qualitative measurements should be reliable and valid to investigate the social world. Quantitative style involves careful contemplation on concepts and concrete construction of measures before beginning collecting data; qualitative style also begins with careful contemplation on concepts, but its concepts are multiple, overlapping and abstract, and researchers “develop many, if not most, of their concepts during data collection activities” (Neuman, 2000).

Comment Icon0 This survey supports the goal of this paper, which would be to determine whether 1) Internet regulation currently contributes to the development of China’s civil society, and 2) if the Uses and Gratifications of the Internet differ between the Chinese government and the citizens. At a macro level, this paper has examined how China’s Internet regulation differentiates from that of other Internet-connected countries. At a micro level, the survey examines how the Chinese government’s desired Internet use compares with the Chinese netizen’s actual use. Specifically, the study will examine how the Chinese government and citizens use the Internet as a third realm for mediated discourse, such as via public spaces such as chatrooms, discussions boards, blogs and news-sharing services.

Comment Icon0 To study the interactions between the Chinese nation state, civil society and the Internet as a public sphere, the survey builds on the various relationships presented in the earlier chapters. Within the context of Internet use in China, the survey will investigate Habermas’ Public Sphere (1989) with the Internet representing the third realm, Benkler’s concept of peer production (2006), Uses and Gratification (Blumler & Katz, 1974), trust in news online under the News Credibility Scale (Gaziano & McGrath, 1986), as well as how citizens prefer their news to be moderated as measured through the Locus of Control Scale (Rotter, 1954). As highlighted in the first chapter, under conceptual model of Uses and Gratification for Chinese netizens (Figure 1), the itemized measures in this conceptual survey include: Attitudes towards the Internet (Anandarajan, Simmers, & Igbaria, 2000; LaRose, Mastro, & Eastin, 2001; Torkzadeh & Van Dyke, 2001); Community Involvement (Weiser, 2001); Social Support (Zhu & He, 2002; Hofstede, 2001); Demographics; Locus of Control (Rotter, 1954); and News Credibility (Gaziano & McGrath, 1986). In addition, community involvement utilized as a four-item measure that asks about the strength of involvement of the participant in off-line and online communities modified from the Community and Social Involvement Index.

Comment Icon0 As mentioned earlier, the “uses” variable in this conceptual model is measured by the amount of time, frequency, quality of use, as well as the Internet connection in terms of location (e.g., home, work, school and cybercafé) and the type of access (e.g., telephone, DSL, Cable, satellite and wireless). The various criteria include 1) Gratifications, which relate to motivation for behavior such as information seeking, entertainment, surveillance, personal relationship, identity and acquisition (Charney & Greenberg, 2002; Papacharissi & Rubin, 2000; LaRose, Mastro & Eastin, 2001; Lin & Atkin, 2002); and 2) Media Satisfaction, which refers to changes in other media use. That is, the perceived satisfaction with television, cable, satellite, TV, radio, wired telephone, mobile phone, newspapers and magazines due to Internet participation (Lin, 2001).

Chapter 1.6 – Research Methodology


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