Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Network Heterogeneity and Opinion Polarization: The Effects of Diversity and Discussion on Young American Voters' Political Social Networks
by Dizor, Taylor J., M.S., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2018, 82; 10981266
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis is a partial replication of a previous study by Lee, Choi, Kim, and Kim (2014). This study was conducted in order to better understand how young American voters ages 18–35 interacted with their political social networks and how those networks influenced their political behavior through the lens of their social network sites—such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Social Network Theory was used as a foundation for this study because it provides a theoretical explanation as to how social networks are formed and how humans typically interact with their networks. The variables Network Heterogeneity, Opinion Polarization, Social Network Site Usage, and Political Discussion were measured. A series of Pearson’s r correlation and stepwise multiple regressions were run in order to ascertain the relationships between the four variables. The major result of the study found a significant relationship between Network Heterogeneity and Opinion Polarization, which potentially indicates that having a diverse social network can lead to polarized political opinions. The results of this study lead to multiple opportunities for future study in both the fields of communication and political science.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ferguson, Alice
Commitee: Auverset van Gerwen, Lauren, Teten, Ryan
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: Communication
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: MAI 58/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Communication, Political science
Keywords: Network heterogeneity, Opinion polarization, Political discussion, Social media, Social network sites, Social networks
Publication Number: 10981266
ISBN: 978-1-392-04207-6
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