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Wednesday, July 29 • 13:31 - 15:00
"Mobile news, social media news, and political participation in three Asian societies: An examination of direct and indirect effects using the O-S-R-O-R Model"

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Authors: Michael ChanHsuan-Ting Chen and Francis Lee

This comparative study examines the roles played by mobile phones and social media on offline and online political participation among college students in Hong Kong (partial democracy), Taiwan (young democracy), and China (one-party state). While very different politically, all three societies are characterized by the confluence of heavy mobile and social media use among the young, providing a form of “networked individualism” (Rainie & Wellman, 2012) that has demonstrated much potential for mobilizing collective actions and social change, such as the Sunflower Student Movement and Occupy Central movement in Taiwan and Hong Kong. This study adopts a theoretically-informed approach to examine the relationships.

Much political communication scholarship has focused on the “main effects” of information exposure (i.e. news) on democratic engagement. However, recent work suggests that the path from information to engagement is more nuanced (i.e. “indirect”) and involve several important cognitive and mental elaboration processes (Eveland, Jr. et al. 2003). More recently, Cho and colleagues (2009) proposed the O-S-R-O-R model, which integrates both mass and interpersonal communication processes, starting from socio-demographic characteristics (O) to news exposure (S) and then to mental elaboration processes (R). These in turn influence political attitudes (O) and subsequent behavior (R). Five years later, there has been scant research based on the model, especially in relation to Asian contexts and related to mobile/social media. This study fills such a gap, and it will test the model shown in Figure 1.

Data were gathered through self-administered questionnaires of college students systematically selected in Hong Kong, Taipei (Taiwan) and Guangzhou (China) during September to November, 2014. Classes were selected based on stratified random sampling at the university, faculty, and department levels. Surveys were distributed in class and yielded a sample of 897 respondents from China, 795 from Hong Kong, and 953 from Taiwan. 

To examine the relationships structural equation modeling using the EQS 6 program (Bentler, 2004) was performed. A partial correlation matrix for the variables was first created to control for the effects of extraneous variables (gender, age, class, and political interest). Then the main variables were entered in accordance with the full O-S-R-O-R framework. Betas that were not statistically significant were removed. Final specified models indicated very good fit for the Hong Kong sample (figure 2), χ2 (14) = 14.71, p = .39; CFI = 1.00; TLI = .99; RMSEA = .001; SRMR = .002; Taiwan sample (figure 3), χ2 (14) = 21.31, p = .09; CFI = .99; TLI = .99; RMSEA = .002; SRMR = .002; and China sample (figure 4), , χ2(9) = 14.14, p = .12; CFI = .99; TLI = .98; RMSEA = .03; SRMR = .02.

Future Work: 
Some tentative conclusions can be made on these initial findings that are supportive of the O-S-R-O-R Model. While there are as expected certain idiosyncrasies among the samples, there are some consistent patterns that are indicative of common effects among the samples, such as the reinforcing roles of mobile and social media. I hope these findings can provide further room for discussion and reflection.

Bentler, P. M. (2004). EQS 6 Structural Equations Program. Encino, CA: Multivariate Software, Inc.
Cho, J., Shah, D. V., McLeod, J. M., McLeod, D. M., Scholl, R. M., & Gotlieb, M. R. (2009). Campaigns, Reflection, and Deliberation: Advancing an O-S-R-O-R Model of Communication Effects. Communication theory, 19, 66-88.
Eveland, Jr. W. P., Shah, D. V., & Kwak, N. (2003). Assessing Causality in the Cognitive Mediation Model: A Panel Study of Motivations, Information Processing, and Learning During Campaign 2000. Communication Research, 30, 359-386.
Rainie, L., & Wellman, B. (2012). Networked: The New Social Operating System. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

avatar for Michael Chan

Michael Chan

Assistant Professor, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Wednesday July 29, 2015 13:31 - 15:00
(9th Floor) TRS 3-176 (Ted Rogers School of Management) 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C3

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