The social analysis survey focused on the reliability of news and media. The survey was distributed in person among 20 people at my workplace on 6 March. It was administered by handing out paper copies and answering the respondents’ questions before conducting the actual survey. All the survey questions were closed-ended (multiple-choice) to gather data for the statistical association.
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The 20 completed surveys gave interesting results. Most of the people surveyed were 41-60 years old. 13 out of 20 surveyed fell into that category. As for the male-female ratio, it was 8 and 12 respectively.
Most of the respondents used the Internet as their prime source of news. It amounted to 18 out of 20 responses. TV ranked second with 17 out of 20. These results speak for the interest in both preassembled pieces of news and those scattered around the Internet. Next came newspapers and phone/tablet applications, which were chosen 7 times each. That may indicate the printed newspapers still have an audience. At the same time, given the apparent trend to use the Internet as the primary source of news, mobile devices still seem to arouse suspicion among the adult and the older adult population. Radio was the least popular source of information as it scored only with 6 responses. It may be assumed that some of the responders listen to the radio while driving, which explains the fact that it has points.
The most interesting findings were that the majority of the respondents deemed mainstream media somewhat reliable and trustworthy. 14 out of 20 respondents chose that answer. 1 participant chose “very reliable,” and 5 others considered that media unreliable. These results did not prove the initial hypothesis about adults and older adults being distrustful towards mainstream media. Given such outcomes, it could be assumed that other sources of media would be considered unreliable. Nevertheless, the scores were almost identical, with variants “very,” “somewhat,” and “not reliable” chosen by 2, 15, and 3 participants respectively. These results may suggest that the adults and the older adults tend to believe in every media source they find. Additionally, it may be assumed, that the ‘in-between’ answer was given because the participants had no strong opinion on the matter or had no facts supporting one of the opposites.
The results seem to fit into the functionalist paradigm. The fact that most of the respondents selected the ‘middle’ variant in the key questions suggests that adults and older adults do not want to be judgmental or critical in order not to invoke chaos. In this age, people tend to choose stability over unrest and a clash of opinions. Additionally, in the absence of clear facts stating the media’s unreliability, the consensus was to agree partially to its reliability, knowing that it would not cause serious turmoil. Perceiving the mainstream concept as something that is relied upon by the majority of the population they tend to agree with its existence not denying its positive qualities and not trying to disprove them provided there is no obvious reason to struggle against it.
Although the initial theory was disproved, the results were intriguing. Given that the majority of subjects were 41-60 years old, it was not possible to ascertain the difference of the views between the younger and the older groups. The answers on the preferable sources of news revealed the common trend in the 21 century to prefer digital sources of information to analog ones. The ‘non-rebellious’ answer complies with the functionalist paradigm implying the adult society tends to seek stability.
Table 1: Question 8 – How reliable and trustworthy do you believe mainstream media is?
|Respondent||A) Very||B) Somewhat||C) Not reliable||D) other|
|Total||Total A: 1||Total B: 14||Total C: 5||Total D:|
|(total A/20)||(total B/20)||(total C/20)||(total D/20)|