A Field Experiment in Equalizing the Distribution of Information

Clifford W. Scherer
1979 Journal of Applied Communications  
The communication of information to various audiences has been the prime objective of the Cooperative Extension Service since its inception in 1914. Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License. This research is available in Journal of Applied Communications: http://newprairiepress.org/jac/vol62/iss1/2 Referee d Article A Field Experiment in Equalizing the Distribution of Information Cli fford W. Sc herer Direc t m ail
more » ... campaign can close the knowledge gap while adding a new Ex tension audie nce The commun ication of inform atio n to va rious audie nces has been the pri me objective of the Cooperati ve Extension Service si nc e its inc ep tion in 1914 . Dissemination gene rally has come about through fa ce-to-face co ntacts between Extension field workers and m embers of the targe t aud ienc e. Gene rall y . we can surmise th at Exte nsion subsc ri bes to the diffusionist approach in the dissemina tio n of informa tio n. That approach suggests the most success when chang e ag ents co ncentrat e efforts on the more prog res sive. educated individuals. Th ose individuals are expec ted to " d iffuse" or "spread" knowledg e and adop tion of prac ll ces to the remainder of the populat ion over time . Even the mass media are seen a flowi ng in form at ion through opinion leaders to ot h er members of the audience . DiffUSion studies. ma ny of them dealing wi th Extension related top ics. have la rg ely co nfirm ed th at the educated and more progre ss ive farmers with larger operations. higher media use and more social co ntac t possess hig her levels of knowledge about i nnovations. The stud ies also show these farmers tend to gain the most from exposure to new information . A re lated notion. called the knowledge gap hypothesis . was orig-Inally proposed by Ticheno r. Dono hue and Olien (1970 ) . This hy-Thi s re po rt is based on data col lec ted as a part of a Ph .D. dissertation funded . in part. by th e University of Wi sco nsin -Exlen sion . 3
doi:10.4148/1051-0834.1849 fatcat:ts2mkcjlvfdu7ejqotdrmq4nmq