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“Affects of an MTV Reality Television Show”
Final Paper
By:
Kristin Callahan, Aubrey Baldwin, Darling Phongsavanh, Sarah Claypool, Courtney Wilson, Derek Renfeld, and Brittany Kachingwe

When we started brainstorming ideas on the first day of class, our group decided that we wanted to gather opinions on something that our colleagues would find interesting and something that they would be able to take a solid stance on. According to previous research, as many as 47% of college-aged kids, 18-24, watch reality TV on a regular basis. So we chose to do our project on MTV Reality Shows and whether students at The University of Iowa would think that being on a show would have an impact on their future. We wanted to make our fellow students think about something commonplace, like reality shows, in different ways than they might have previously thought about them. Therefore, we decided to focus on how students think being on a reality show would impact their future employment prospects.
We think our research is significant for a couple main reasons. To begin with, we expect that the findings from our questionnaire will make students consider possible participation in a reality show in a different way. A student might not have previously considered how the negative portrayal of a show’s participants’ would affect their future employment prospects, but after taking our survey, and seeing the results, they might think differently. Also, we think that our questionnaire might inspire a student to see the participants on these shows in a different way. After taking our survey, a student might wonder whether the participants on reality TV shows are really as outrageous as they seem, or if they are only being portrayed that way in order to attract viewers. Our research has definitely added another spectrum of information to research that has been conducted previously.
Once our group had decided to look at how MTV reality TV shows affect University of Iowa student’s opinions on the potential future impact of being on one these shows, we set out to find out if any other research had been done on the subject. Although we were unable to find an identical study, we did find several studies and statistics on reality TV that helped us form our hypothesis and our questionnaire.
The first study we looked at, taken by MARS Survey, compared the frequency of watching reality television to age, gender and education. The study was taken in 2003 and 21,106 adults received a mail survey during the first quarter of the year. The study showed that 24.1% of the respondents said that they frequently watch reality TV shows. Both male and female aged 18-24 dominated all other ages for the amount of reality television watched with females slightly edging the males. It showed that as the respondents got older, they amount of reality television they watched decreased. From this information, we were able to predict that a high majority of our respondents would frequently watch reality TV shows because most of them would be in the 18-24 age group. In the same study, they compared frequency of watching reality television to education and household income. Of post-grads, college grads, some college, high school grads and less than high school, the study showed that it was the people with some college that tended to watch reality TV shows more often than the rest. It was with this information that we predicted that underclassman would be more willing to go on a reality TV show opposed to upperclassman and grad students because of the amount they watched and we thought they would be less conscience of future implications.
Another study we looked at taken by the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, tried to find out what some of the salient motives were for watching reality TV. The study surveyed 157 college students aged 18-34 who all received extra credit for participating. The questions they asked had three types of measurements. The first was interpersonal to find out if the motives were inclusion or companionship based. The second was media to find out if the motives were entertainment, habit, information, social interaction, escape, pastime, or relaxation based and the third type was a reality TV specific category. On a 5-point scale the respondents were asked to indicate how much these reasons were like their own for watching reality TV. The results of the study showed that 17.82% of the respondents said they watched reality TV shows strictly for entertainment, while 12.61% said they watched it for relaxation and 10.38% said for habitual pass time.
The final study we looked at related a lot more to our topic because it showed that the negative portrayals of reality TV shows were being noticed. Parentstv.org, a website advocating responsible entertainment, conducted a three month study of over 114 hours of reality TV. During their study they documented, 1,135 instances of profanity, 495 instances of sex and 30 instances of violence, which is 14.5 instances of offensive content per hour. This study, taken in 2003, showed a 52.6% increase in offensive content since 2002. This study was significant to our research because since the amount of reality TV shows has increased significantly since 2003, including the onset of Jersey Shore, we figured that the amount of offensive content has increased as well. With more offensive content we hypothesized that students would be less likely to want to be on a reality TV show because of the fear that their potential offensive behavior would hinder their professional future.
Although over 35,000 18-24 year olds auditioned for last season’s Real World, and the fact that many of MTV’s reality TV shows rank in the top 15 most viewed reality TV shows, we held that although some students would consider going onto a MTV reality show despite the possible negative aspect, the majority would consider the negative portrayals and chose to refrain from participating in a reality TV show.
To get a good amount of responses from our questions, we decided to do a total of fifteen questions. We believed that amount of questions were not too lengthy or too short. Our questions were made up of “yes and no” questions, open ended questions, multiple choice, and quantitative choices. We wanted to experiment with different types of question forms to help us get a good result rather than plain “yes or no” questions.
The first five questions tell us demographically about the survey takers. The first question asks if you are a student at the University of Iowa. The reason we ask this is because that was our target audience. The second question asks what year they were in. This simply just categorizes them demographically into sub-groups. The third question asks about gender. The reason why we ask this is because we wanted to determine if male and females had different views on this subject or if they were just all the same. Number four asks “what year you were born in.” Before we had “how old are you” but we changed it to “what year you were born in” because some people are sensitive about telling people how old they are but for some reason they are more likely to state the year they were born in rather than their age. The age of the person or the “year” they were born in will put our survey takers in another sub-group that will determine if the younger crowd may have different views than the older crowd. Also, knowing about the age is pretty critical in this survey because later we ask if the survey taker would have the opportunity to be on the show would they? And for some episodes such as the real world, you have to be 18-24 to apply. But this varies on each TV show. For instance, for the TV show “16 and pregnant,” you obviously have to be a future teen mom to be documented on the show.
Our fifth question asks if you are an American citizen. The reason why we ask this relates to the explanation for question number four. We wanted to follow the MTV standard requirement pattern to apply for their casting calls. One of the characteristics besides age was that you had to be an American citizen.
For questions number six and seven, we wanted to clarify if they have seen the shows and how often? There will be survey takers who have not seen the show so we did not want to assume that even though it is a popular television show, not everyone has seen it. Also, the people who have not seen any reality shows before versus the people who see them on a regular basis will give us different results. Without doubt, those who have watched the shows will help us contribute more to our results.
For questions eight through twelve, these questions deal more with the survey taker’s imagination if they had a chance to be on a reality show and how it would affect their job. These questions follow through with our hypothesis and are more for the survey takers to think outside the box and more of the outcomes of being on the show if they chose to. For number eight, we ask if they were given the opportunity would they be on a reality show. The reason why we ask this is to see how many people would actually do it. With them responding “yes” means they do not care too much about their image being portrayed over the country, they have not thought about the consequences, or they are confident that they will control their behavior. For number nine, we asked if they would still be on the show if it would portray their negative side. We wanted to see if people cared about their image being portrayed. For the results, we wanted to see if males or females cared more and we figured the more mature a person is the more they will care so the age aspect played a big role in this too. This also explains question number ten and eleven. It asks how do you think being on a reality TV show would impact your future job prospects and if you would censor your behavior. We wanted to know what type of age groups feels more concerned about their future job aspects.
For question number twelve, we asked them if they were in the position to hire an employee, would they hire someone that had previously been on an MTV show. We ask this because we want to know if people would get hired if they saw how you acted on TV whether it was good or bad and we wanted the survey taker to start thinking about the consequences of being on a show whether it was good or bad.
For number thirteen and fourteen, we wanted to know what the audiences thought of the cast members of the shows. The perception of how the cast members act portrays the survey taker’s perception on being on a reality show and how it would affect them. For instance, if the person thought positively about the cast members, they are more likely to maybe want to be on the show rather than someone who thinks they are just drama queens. This person probably wouldn’t want to be on the show. This was our prediction and we developed these questions to see if it was true.
Now the last question is one of the most important questions on here because it shows the changes of how the person thought before taking this survey and after. We wanted the audience to actually think about the consequences it might take to be on a reality show and we wanted to see if it did change their decision or not from question number eight where we asked if they would be on a reality show.
After our questions were developed, we had to send them out. The sample method that we used to choose our target audience was systematic sampling. To pick out our candidates we used the University directory which has a list of all students (30,000). We gave each student a number from 1-30,000 starting with the letter A-Z. Then generated a list of 500 numbers and picked out those candidates who matched those numbers. An email was sent to all candidates that were chosen. On March 24, we only had 164 responses so what we did was resent the same emails to the same people reminding them to take the survey. We stopped taking responses on April 6, 2010, just so we had enough time to analyze our data. We ended up with 201 responses but only 199 responded to our questions. The other two was just blank or people who just opened the survey and closed it without finishing it.
Once the process in which the group would gather the data was established, a program called Zap Survey was brought into the equation. We were able to use this program – which is typically used for critiquing television and radio shows – as a result of a connection with a student organization and the Office of Student Life. The benefits taken advantage of by our group in using Zap Survey was the ability to monitor IP addresses and who responded to the survey. For when a respondent left out answers that were needed – as only two of the fifteen questions were optional -, we were able to resend the survey back to have them finish off the empty question or questions that we needed. As well, the group was able to closely monitor who had and had not finished the survey that was sent out, which made it particularly easy to resend it multiple times to those who had not responded. This was one of many great features of Zap Survey that was taken advantage of.
The other big thing that was very useful and time saving about using a well-made program such as Zap Survey is the cleanliness of the data output options. Because everyone was working with sending and resending survey to people in order to meet what we wanted for a minimum respondents number, which was around 200, having very basic output options and extensive output options of the data with just a click of a button was very beneficial. One person sent out a data spreadsheet update with just simple graphs and without any information on the actual respondents, to each member of the group every night in order to keep on top of things and reach the minimum number we were looking for. With the ease of the survey program, and the work of the group making sure surveys were resent to the original 500 people until our desired number was reached, Zap Survey came in very handy.
The more in-depth data export was an option as well, and one that the group used to get the data into SPSS. Collaboratively, we decided that using a more detailed program that was more malleable with the data and how we could look at it was the better choice over something simpler like Microsoft Excel. With Zap Survey, as stated, the data exported was very clean and easy to use, even with the detailed output option, which is what was used to get the data into SPSS. With a detailed set of data exported as an Excel document, which included some unnecessary information such as IP address, time and date the survey was taken and the respondent’s name – all important data when obtaining the responses, but was no longer needed – some of the unnecessary stuff for data analyzing and tabulation of both single variables and bi-variables could be removed. Once it was cleaned up a bit, SPSS could become part of the equation.
With another wonderful program in SPSS, the cleaned up data in Excel format could be opened in SPSS and run through a plug-in wizard, which helps the user define where variables start and what data is important. As well, the program helps the user in a huge step in changing common words in to numbers, which is necessary to use the program. Because SPSS does not recognize words without a bunch of unnecessary work, converting the single answer responses to words was very important, and important that it could be done easily. For if the group had to spend hours converting all the data by hand in order to manipulate and analyze, certainly it would have put a strain on the amount of work that could have been focused on other areas.
Once the data was altered into a numerical format in order for the program to be able to work with it, the analyzing of the data and cross tabulation calculations is rather easy with a program such as SPSS. Within a matter of a click of some buttons, members of the group could calculate any number of cross tabulations, let alone just frequency tables and single variable analysis. As well, with the check of a box, the chi-square values showing significance and the P values used to prove the significance could be found as well, making SPSS a great route to go with analyzing the data. Because a great deal of calculations could now be done in just a short amount of time, the group was able to branch off into three key categories and analyze the data focusing on the gender, year in school, etc. Not only did this make the group work easier, as each person could focus on one area and bring their results to the group, as well as present on it, but it allowed more focus to be put on more areas of the data set and results that we obtained.
One of the areas of data we decided to put a strong emphasis on is the relationship between the participant’s age and how the questions were answered. We broke the ages down into five groups: Freshmen (27 participants), sophomore (52 participants), junior (62 participants), senior (50 participants), and Graduate (6 participants). Of all the surveyed participants, 192 of them say they have seen an MTV reality show. With this we concluded that they would have an opinion on the show, making their answers a reasonable view of their feelings on the topic. In each case, the age of the survey participant was the independent variable. To determine whether the comparison was significant, we were looking for a p-value of less than .05. If the value was greater than .05, the relationship was insignificant.
When looking at age and how it affected people’s attitudes towards MTV reality shows, we were looking to find a few differences. First, we believed that people at different ages would have different focuses. Mainly, we thought the older groups, juniors, seniors, and graduates, would be more focused on finding jobs and think that being on an MTV reality show would have a negative impact. We did not expect to see a clear preference with the younger participants, sophomores and freshmen. We also expected to see a difference with the interests of the age group. MTV’s target population is mostly with teenagers and some people in their early twenties. So we thought that freshmen and sophomores would watch the shows significantly more. Finally, we wanted to see where the most differences were. We asked a variety of questions relating to the portrayal of the participants, the participants willingness to be on the shows, and the impact being on shows would have on their opportunity to get a job in the future. We hoped that if we could find significant differences in the data, this would tell us what the main differences were within age groups.
Our first comparison was between the age of the surveyor and their willingness to participate in an MTV reality show. Most of the participants, in all ages, said “no” they would not be interested in participating in an MTV reality show. The ratios were fairly similar throughout all of the age groups except juniors seemed to have a larger majority say “no.” For this situation, there was .925 which means the relationship between age and willingness to participate in an MTV reality show is highly insignificant (See Figure 1).
Another comparison we felt would be important to make was the comparison between the participants’ age and how often they watched the shows. If one age group watches this type of show more often than another, it could have an impact their opinions. Fortunately, the proportion of people who watched MTV reality shows was roughly the same across all age groups so we could be certain that this would not have an impact on the other collected data. The P-value for this data was .776, making the relationship insignificant. Also, this was important because it showed that we could not assume that the amount people watched the shows had an influence on the way they answered the questions (See Figure 2).
Next we wanted to see the difference between age and the perceived impact on obtaining a future job. There was a significant finding that the majority of the surveyed participants thought being on an MTV reality show would have a “negative” impact on their future job search. It was also very interesting to find that only 10 out of the 199 people, who answered this question, believed it would have no impact. This means that 95% of all people believed being on an MTV reality show would have some sort of impact on their search for a job. Another really interesting finding of this comparison is that the percentage of juniors, seniors and graduates who believed that being on an MTV reality show would “positively” impact their job hunt was much larger than the freshmen and sophomore percentage. We believed that the older participants would be less willing to be on the shows because of the impact it would have on their ability to get a job in the future, however, this is not the case. However, this relationship proved to be somewhat insignificant based on the P-value which equaled .155 (See Figure 3). Another comparison we wanted to make was how the different age groups believed the participants of MTV reality shows were portrayed. We asked the surveyors to rank on a scale of 1-5, one being very negatively and five being very positively. We wanted to do a scale for this question so we could have a clearer understanding of the views within each group. Over half of the surveyed in each group believed that the portrayal of MTV reality show participants was either “negative” or “very negative.” We expected that people would believe that MTV reality show participants were portrayed negatively; however, we did not know the extent. Less than 5% of everyone surveyed believed the portrayal of MTV reality show participants was at all positive. But again, there was not a significant difference in views between the age groups. In this case, the P-value was .240 which shows an insignificant relationship between the two variables (See Figure 4).
Our final comparison was with age and the person’s willingness to hire someone who had previously been on a reality show. This was our most interesting finding when comparing age groups. Freshmen were split evenly with their willingness to hire. Sophomores had a majority saying that they would not hire a previous reality show participant. Although more juniors and seniors said they would not hire a previous reality show participant, the proportion was a lot lower than the sophomore age group. What’s more is that when the graduate students were asked, majority said they would hire someone who was on an MTV reality show. Taking these numbers and comparing them to previous questions about how being on a show would affect the surveyor, perceived impact and portrayal, a large majority believed it would be extremely negative. It seems that people believe being on a show would have a negative impact on them, yet, they would be more accepting of others who had been on reality shows. If we were to conduct another survey, this would be an extremely interesting question to elaborate on to find out why people believe this. This was our most interesting find when comparing certain questions with different age groups. The p-value was .098 which makes the relationship slightly insignificant; however this was the closest to a significant relationship that our group found so this relationship could be very interesting to expand on through further research (See Figure 5).
To summarize, in most cases, there was not a significant relationship between the participant’s age and their opinions on MTV reality shows. The only areas that we could potentially expand on, perhaps with a larger range of ages, in order to find a relationship is comparisons between the participant’s age and their perceived impact on finding a future job along with a comparison of age and their willingness to hire someone who had been on a reality show. The only reason we could expand on these two topics is because although the relationship was proved insignificant, each still reported a fairly low p-value. This indicated that is we were to change parts of the survey, for example opening it up to people 15-65 years old; we might be able to find a significant relationship there. We were able to conclude that age does not have a great effect on how people perceive MTV reality show participants, however, there were other areas of our study that showed more significant findings.
Another relationship we were interested in was whether there would be a difference in responses between males and females. We thought gender might have an impact on how respondents viewed the participants of MTV reality shows and how the respondent viewed the consequences of appearing on a show. We analyzed the differences in responses between genders for five questions: How often do you watch MTV reality shows, how would you rate the portrayal of MTV show participants, would you be willing to be on an MTV reality show, how would appearing on a show impact your future job prospects, and would you be willing to hire a MTV reality show participant. Thus, our independent variable for this data analysis was gender and the dependent variables were frequency of watching MTV reality shows, rating of portrayal of participants, willingness to appear on a MTV reality show, perceived impact of appearing on a MTV reality show, and willingness to hire a MTV reality show participant.
In examining how often males and females watch MTV reality shows we found that for both genders the option of “randomly” was most popular. 65.5% of males and 75.9% of females selected this option. Among males 10.6% chose “daily,” 6.1% chose “weekly,” and 18.2% chose “not at all.” We ran a chi-square test to assess if a significant relationship between gender and how often the respondent watched MTV reality shows existed. We obtained a significance value of .001 and concluded that there is a relationship between gender and how often the respondent watches MTV reality shows (See Figure 6).
We also examined the relationship between gender and how the respondent rated the portrayal of MTV show participants. The survey contained the options “very negative,” “somewhat negatively,” “neutral,” “somewhat positively,” or “very positively.” Again, the genders had their most popular response in common (in this case the option “somewhat negatively”). The responses for both genders tended to cluster from “very negatively” to “neutral” with few responding that participants are portrayed positively. Only 4.5% of males and 6.7% of females answered that participants are portrayed either somewhat or very positively. The distribution of responses between males and females appeared very similar, and the chi-square test confirmed this. The chi-square significance value was .557, and we concluded that there was no relationship between gender and how the respondent viewed the portrayal of participants. Males and females both tended to respond that participants are portrayed somewhat negatively (See Figure 7).
In looking at gender and willingness to appear on a MTV reality show, males were more evenly split between answering “yes” and “no” than females. Among males, 48.5% responded that they would be willing to go on a MTV reality show while 51.5% said no. Among females, a much larger proportion responded that they would not be willing to appear on a show. 69.2% of females answered no while 30.8% said yes. After running a chi-square test we received a significance value of .015 and concluded that there is a relationship between gender and willingness to appear on a MTV reality show (See Figure 8).
Perhaps the most important question we asked respondents was what they thought the impact of appearing on a MTV reality show would be for their future job prospects. The survey included the options “positively,” “negatively,” and “no impact.” The option “negatively” was selected the most for both genders with 62.1% of males and 89.5% of females choosing this option. Few respondents thought appearing on a MTV reality show have no impact on job prospects and only 6.1% of males and 4.5% of females selected this option. There was a dramatic difference between males and females in the frequency of responding that appearing on a MTV reality show would positively impact job prospects. 31.8% of males thought appearing on a show would have a positive impact while only 6.1% of females chose that response. Among males the number who chose “positively” is more comparable to the number who chose “negatively” while females overwhelmingly thought appearing on a show would negatively impact job prospects. The chi-square test confirmed that there is a statistically significant relationship between gender and perceived impact on job prospects. The significance value was approximately .000. We concluded that females perceive a negative impact on job prospects at a higher rate than males (See Figure 9).
There was also a clear difference between genders in willingness to hire a MTV reality show participant. More males chose the option “yes” they would be willing to hire than “no.” Among females, in contrast, twice as many answered that they would not hire a MTV reality show participant than said yes. Among males, 57.6% were willing to hire a reality show participant and 42.4% were not. Only 30.8% of females were willing to hire while 69.2% were not. The chi-square test confirmed the existence of a statistically significant relationship, and we again obtained a significance value of .000. We concluded that females respond that they would not be willing to hire a MTV reality show participant at a higher rate than males (See Figure 10).
Our study looked at differences between the genders and how often they watch MTV reality shows, how they rated the portrayal of participants, willingness to appear on a MTV reality show, perceived impact on future job prospects, and willingness to hire someone who had appeared on an MTV reality show. We found statistically significant differences between gender and four variables: how often the respondent watches MTV reality shows, perceived impact on job prospects, willingness to appear on a MTV reality show, and willingness to hire MTV reality show participants. We concluded that females tended to watch reality TV shows more regularly than males, were less likely to be willing to appear on a MTV reality show than males, were more likely to perceive that appearing on a MTV reality show would negatively impact their future job prospects than males, and were less willing to hire former reality show participants than males.
We found it interesting that males and females rated the portrayal of MTV reality participants similarly (as very or somewhat negatively), yet males were still more willing to appear on a show and less likely to think that it would harm their job prospects. Future research should examine why males are more willing than females to appear on MTV reality shows even though they seem to share the view that participants are portrayed negatively. The gender differences in our study are certainly intriguing, and they may have broader implications. If males are less likely to perceive that appearing on a MTV reality show would negatively affect their job prospects, they may be more likely to jeopardize their career future. Researchers who study the effects of reality television should investigate the differences between males and females further and explore why the genders perceive the impact of going on a reality show differently and why males are more willing to take the risk of being portrayed negatively.

University of Iowa
UI UNDERGRAUATE STUDENTS’ OPINIONS TOWARD THE PARKING SITUATION ON CAMPUS
Final Report
Lauren Baker, Kristin Skoglund, Brittany Caplin, Colleen Kennedy, Rosaline Sixby, Kelly O’Neill, Jordan Taylor, Melissa Payne, Beth Wendling, and Kathleen Graham
5/4/2010

Research Purpose

The purpose of this project was for our group to conduct a probability-sampling survey of the undergraduate students at the University of Iowa.  When trying to determine a topic, each member in our group knew that we wanted to choose a topic that would be important and useful for the future of our campus.  We ultimately decided that we wanted to interview freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior students to gain insight on their thoughts and opinions towards UI’s parking situation.  We chose this topic because as students of this university, we have all been impacted by the availability and convenience of parking there is around campus.  Each of us have experienced countless amounts of times where we had a need for parking whether we were going to class, running errands, going out to eat, etc.  Based on our own experiences, we knew that this topic was significant because not only has the parking situation affected each of us, but also we were certain that it has most likely affected every member of UI’s student body at one point in time.

Our group made two hypothesizes regarding what the undergraduate students’ overall feelings toward UI’s parking situation would be.  First, we predicted that since many freshmen do not drive as often as most sophomores, juniors, and seniors, they would not view parking as an important issue on campus.  Second, we thought that students who had a car at school would consider parking as a larger issue than students who did not have a car at school.  Before beginning our research, our group tried finding other existing studies similar to ours to compare their research method and hypothesizes to ours.  Unfortunately, no one in our group could find any other studies that surveyed students regarding the parking situations at their university.  Nevertheless, we did find a website called College Prowler that surveys thousands of students at various universities each year in order to get their opinions on what life is like on campus.  Each student surveyed is asked a variety of questions regarding their school’s academics, athletics, campus housing, and parking.  After every student completes the survey, they are awarded an entry into College Prowler’s $1000 Monthly Survey Scholarship.  Students can earn additional entries into the scholarship drawing by referring their friends to take the survey.  Moreover, College Prowler’s survey found that UI students ranked parking as the number one complaint on campus.  At Indiana University, the results to their survey showed that parking is viewed as an important issue on their campus as well.  Students’ responses from the survey indicated that not only are there limited parking spots around campus, but also the “zones” that indicate where students and faculty are allowed to park are extremely confusing.  In addition, the results from the survey taken at Michigan University proved that students also view parking as a large problem on their campus.  The student’s responses from the survey claimed that not only are there limited spots around campus for students to park, but also that the university’s parking permits are expensive.  Moreover, College Prowler showed our group that not only is the parking situation viewed as an important issue on the University of Iowa’s campus, but also on many other college campuses across the country.

Overall, we believe that our survey research will lead us to the conclusion that the undergraduate students at the University of Iowa have overwhelmingly negative views about the parking situation around campus.  We also hope that throughout our research, we will be able to discover potential solutions to this significant problem based upon what the most frequent complaints are from UI students.  Moreover, our group hopes that the University of Iowa Parking and Transportation department will take the information we collect into consideration when they are considering any changes or alternatives to the parking situation around campus.  It is our hope that this research will provide a foundation for the improvement to campus-wide parking options.

Questionnaire

The first draft of our survey consisted on 20 questions, but they were not focused on a specific topic.  For example, one of our questions asked students about their satisfaction with parking near their home or work.  After meeting with Yao, our group realized that we were not concerned about students’ satisfaction with parking options near their home or work.  Instead, our group wanted their opinions about parking around campus.  In addition, our group did not specify what was considered on and off campus and students could have been mistaken between the two.  “Home” and “off-campus” are both relative terms that could apply to many different areas.  Our group later decided that if we took the time to clarify every location that we considered to be “on” and “off” campus, our survey would be too long and the respondents would most likely lose interest quickly.  Therefore, we removed many questions about parking near home or off campus because we needed more analytical and focused questions.

Our final questionnaire that we came up with after meeting with Yao was an online survey that consisted of 20 questions that allowed us to gauge the approval of on campus parking for University of Iowa undergraduate students.  The area we defined as “on campus parking” consisted of downtown Iowa City, which included all of the bars and shops along the streets of Clinton, Dubuque, Washington, and Iowa. The streets by major University of Iowa buildings where most classes are held were included as well.  This includes areas from Clinton to the Field House on the other side of the river.

The first two questions our group decided to use are demographic ones, which are close ended questions.  This was because one of the hypotheses was predicting that freshman would not view parking as an important issue because most freshman do not have cars at school.  Instead, they rely on the cambus to pick up and drop them off right in front of their dorms, classes, and downtown.  In order for us to best address our hypothesis, our group knew it was important to have students clarify their year in school.  We also asked whether the respondents were male or female in hopes that it was an even response rate for comparison at the end of the survey.

Question 3 was a close ended question that asked if the participant had a car.  It was important to ask how many students had a car because we wanted to know who personally experienced the parking situation. Knowing whether or not students have cars showed us how familiar they are with the parking situation.  One of our other hypotheses is that students who had a car at school would consider parking to be a larger issue than students who do not have a car at school. In order to prove this hypothesis, we needed a direct question.

Questions 4 and 5 were both close ended questions that addressed where and how often the individuals park.  These questions would help us understand how dependent students were on their cars and if there was one area on campus that the majority of students were driving such as to their classes or the gym.  Their responses to these questions would help clarify if they were biased towards one area of campus or another popular spot downtown.

Questions 6 through 9 helped us to determine where students park when they go to class or downtown and also how they rate their satisfaction with that parking area.  We wanted these questions to ask about students’ satisfaction about the specific parking area that we chose to do our survey about.  Questions 6 and 8 ask the participants to check all the options that apply to them.  We did this format instead of just a close ended question because depending on where the student’s class is located or where they’re headed downtown, there are different types of parking availability that students would use more than others.  Ranking on a scale of 1-5 was easy to analyze and didn’t give the participants too many choices to describe their satisfaction.  On our previous survey, we used a scale of 1-10 which was difficult because there were too many choices.  Even we didn’t know the distinction between a 7 or 8.  A scale of 1-10 was too broad and it would have been difficult for participants to pinpoint their opinions and even more difficult for us to interpret what they meant.

Question 10 was extremely important because that would help us determine solutions that we asked for later in our survey.  If we knew which payment method was the most successful, it would help us draw conclusions about implementing more meters or parking ramps with a different type of payment that was more popular among students.

Question 11 was another way to discuss the problems and dissatisfaction with parking on campus.  If most students receive parking tickets more than once a month, then they would more likely be dissatisfied with parking.  If most students who took our survey received tickets frequently, then receiving tickets might be a reason why they are dissatisfied with parking overall.

Questions 12 and 13 were close-ended questions with yes or no answers.  Question 12 helped us determine if being towed was a bigger issue than being ticketed for student drivers, or if towing was even a problem at all.  Question 13 highlighted the inconvenience that students have faced while trying to park.  If finding a parking space was affecting a students’ ability to get to class on time, then this is a major problem that the university should address.  This again is another indication of dissatisfaction among our polling sample and would help us gain a better sense of how much of a problem parking is around campus.

Question 14 was a rating scale question that was used to determine the fairness of the ticketing and towing policies among campus.  If people feel that they are receiving multiple tickets for one period of being parked in the same spot or are ticketed enough that they will be towed, they might view the policies as unfair.  If most students view these policies as unfair then they are going to be dissatisfied with parking and start looking for a new possibility for parking.

Question 15 was used to demonstrate overall how students felt about the parking situation.  Just because students received tickets or couldn’t find a place to park does not mean that they are unsatisfied with parking.  This question had very clear wording that would help us understand how students felt about parking.  It was also a good way to lead into our next series of questions which dealt with possible solutions to implement new policies.  This question concluded the part of our survey where we asked about students’ opinions about the current parking situation.

Questions 16 through 19 are all realistic possibilities for future solutions.  Members of our group brainstormed solutions and asked our friends as well as other students in our classes about parking on campus and came up with four possible solutions.  There has been a lot of conversation about charging parking fees to students’ credit card or U-bill instead of only having the coin operated meters. University officials believe this will be the norm for all meters within a couple of years.  Since most students used meter parking according to our results, we thought that this solution is not only highly probable to be implemented but it is also a popular solution among students.  Another possibility we thought of was having a pre-paid student only parking facility.  This solution would have worked well to ensure that students would always have a spot to park and therefore not waste time looking for one and being late to class.  We wanted to rate the students’ interests in these solutions and see if they thought that they could be effective, convenient, and help their own parking problems.

Question 20 was the only open ended question that we had throughout our survey.  This let our respondents brainstorm their own solutions to the parking problem.  It’s good to conclude our survey with an open-ended question because it gave students the freedom to express their opinions and feelings about parking solutions more in-depth and in their own words.  We hoped to find some new and interesting solutions from students’ responses.

Overall we think our survey was highly successful.  It was focused to a specific area, downtown and classes, which all University of Iowa students could recognize and identify with.    We used different types of questions including open ended, close ended and rating scales that helped us determined how significant this problem was to the students.  It was short enough where no student would get bored or side tracked while taking it yet long enough to help us prove our hypotheses.

Sampling and Survey Administration

For our parking survey, we utilized the WebSurveyor to distribute and analyze our survey.  The sampling method we used was systematic random sampling.  This means we started with a randomly drawn starting point and from there selected every nth element to participate in the sample.  Systematic random sampling is a form of probability sampling.  Probability sampling is when the participants are chosen according to mathematical guidelines whereby each unit’s chance for selection is known so the sampling error can be calculated when the survey has been completed.

There are several advantages associated with utilizing systematic random sampling.  The first one is that selection was very easy; also, this type of survey tends to be more accurate than simple random sampling.  Finally, this method was inexpensive.  However, there was also a disadvantage that came with using systematic random sampling.  This disadvantage was that it was more difficult to find a comprehensive sampling frame at first.

Our total sampling frame consisted of 30,000 University of Iowa undergraduates.  We acquired a list of names within the University of Iowa “Hawkmail” list of contacts.  This list included contact information for all people associated with the university, including professors, graduate students, university programs and undergraduate students.  From that list, we had to systematically go through and select only the undergraduate students.  Within the sampling frame, our sample contained 1,100 subjects that were all undergraduate students at the University of Iowa.  For our purposes, we started on element number five (5) and selected every 27th name from our sampling frame.  All of this information was needed in order for us to accurately calculate the sampling interval.

The formula for the sampling interval is I = N/n, where “I” is the sampling interval, “N” is the total number of elements in the sampling frame and “n” is the number of participants in the actual sample itself.  Therefore, our sampling interval was calculated in the following manner: I = 30,000 / 1,100 = 27.3.  Our sampling interval was 27.3, which proves that we systematically selected every 27th name on our list.

After our sample had been compiled through systematic random sampling, we uploaded the questions separately onto WebSurveyor.  WebSurveyor is an online database that is used to create polls and/or surveys, and it’s available to members of the University of Iowa if you acquire an account through Information Technology Services (ITS).  Once we received a username and password, we were able to manipulate WebSurveyor for our purposes.  We uploaded an existing Microsoft Excel document that contained our sample of 1,100 units.

After the sample had been successfully uploaded, we wrote a short introductory paragraph.  In this paragraph we explained what the survey was about and how the subject had been randomly selected.  We also explained that the survey would not take very long and would be very beneficial for our study.  We did this to maximize the number of survey responses we would get.  We then sent out the survey to the units through their university email addresses.  We chose one of our group member’s email addresses to use as the sender for our survey.

We originally thought that we would have to send out three different “waves” of our survey.  Waves are the number of times a survey is sent out to the same sample.  Fortunately, we only had to send out one wave.  In our first wave, we received 307 responses – a number much higher than the required 200 responses.  The last response we received before stopping the survey was on April 22, 2010 at 5:30 PM.  Obviously, our great success rate shows that our feedback was very high.

Data Analysis

Overall we believe our survey was highly successful.  It was focused to a specific area, downtown and classes, which all University of Iowa students could recognize and identify with. We used different types of questions including open ended, close ended and rating scales that helped us determined how significant this problem was to the students.

Out of the 301 respondents we received, 123 were male and 178 were female.  Therefore, 40.9% of the respondents were male and 59.1% of the respondents were female, giving us a well balanced ratio of male to female.  As you can see by our graph, we also had a fairly equal representation of year in school, with 29.2% seniors, 29.2% juniors, 23.9% sophomores, and 17.6% freshmen.  As a result, we believe our survey accurately portrays the student population at the University of Iowa.

81.4% of our respondents have a car at school, whereas only 18.9% did not have a car. Therefore, the results accurately portray the ideals of students who deal with parking at the University of Iowa on a daily basis.  According to our survey, the highest percentage of students (27.6%) drives their car at least 4-6 times per week while, 15.9% of students drive more than 10 times per week.  Only 14.3% of students drive their car less than once a week.  Since our survey tells us that 55.8% of students drive their car over 4 times per week, we are able to conclude that parking is a prevalent issue to be looked into at the University of Iowa.
Question number 6 gave us insight as to where students park their cars when they go to class.  We were interested to find that 81.3% of students park in parking spots that cost money, 16.8% park in city ramps, 31.9% park in university ramps, and 32.6% park in meters on the street.  The results from question 6 coincide with our next question, which was to rate your satisfaction with the availability of parking near your classes.

Our results indicate that over 70% of our respondents are unsatisfied with the parking availability near their classes, and 40.4% of the 70% indicated that they were highly unsatisfied.  Only 3.5% of students reported being satisfied with the parking availability.  Our group believes one of the reasons for the large percentage of unsatisfied students was that 81% of our survey respondents responded having been late to class due to the lack of parking on campus.
Although students are dissatisfied with the current parking options at the University of Iowa, 54% of our survey respondents believe that implementing credit card capability for parking options in the City of Iowa City and University of Iowa would improve the parking situation in Iowa City.  However, 20.6% believe that credit card capabilities would provide no improvement at all.  Similarly, 26.5% of respondents do not think that having the ability to U-Bill their parking fees would improve their opinion of the parking situation, and 43% believe it would.

In our first cross-tabulation test, we measured the significance between male and female satisfaction with on campus parking. Our data produced a p-value of 0.136, and therefore proves that there is no significant difference between male and female satisfaction with on campus parking. We know this because 0. 136 is greater than .05.

In our second cross tabulation test, we measured the significance between year in school and satisfaction with on campus parking. For this test, our data produced a p-value of .007, which is less than .05 and therefore proves that there is a significant relationship between the respondent’s year in school and his or her satisfaction with on campus parking. According to the cross tabulation chart the only generalization we are able to make about this relationship is that senior students at the University of Iowa are generally more satisfied with on campus parking. This conclusion can be made due to the fact that the Expected count was 5.8; however, the observed count was 12. The Adjusted Residual was 3.1, greater than two; therefore the generalization can be made.

The bolded cell below illustrates the observed count and expected count relationship.

Year in School Highly

Unsatisfied

Unsatisfied Neutral Satisfied Highly Satisfied
Freshmen

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

16

20.4

-1.4

17

17

.0

8

7.7

.1

1

3.5

-1.5

4

1.8

1.9

Sophomore

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

32

26.9

1.4

17

22.5

-1.6

15

10.2

1.9

3

4.6

-.9

2

2.3

-.2

Junior

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

36

34.2

.5

30

28.6

.4

12

13

-.3

4

5.9

-1.0

1

2.9

-1.4

Senior

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

31

33.8

-.7

31

33.8

-.7

9

12.8

-1.4

12

5.8

3.1

3

2.9

.1

In our third cross-tabulation test, we measured the significance between the respondent’s year in school and whether or not they have a car at school. Our data produced a p-value of .000, again, below .05, and therefore proves that there is a significant relationship between year in school and having a car. Based on our cross-tabulation chart, three generalizations about students at the University of Iowa can be made. First of all, freshmen are more likely to not have a car at school. Secondly, juniors are more likely to have a car at school, and thirdly, seniors are also more likely to have a car at school.  These conclusions can be made, because in all three cases the observed count is greater than the expected count and the adjusted residual is above two.

The bolded cells below illustrate the observed count and expected count relationship.

Year in School Owns a Car at school Does not own a car at school
Freshmen

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

29

9.8

7.5

24

43

-7.3

Sophomore

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

13

13

.0

57

56.8

.1

Junior

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

10

16.5

-2.1

79

72.2

2.2

Senior

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

4

16.3

-4.0

84

71.4

41.

In our fourth cross-tabulation test, we measured the significance between whether or not difficulty finding parking has made the respondent late for class, and the respondent’s satisfaction with parking on campus. Our data produced a p-value of .000 and therefore proves there is a significant relationship between the two. According to our cross-tabulation chart, the generalization can be made that respondents who have been late to class due to parking situations are more likely to be highly unsatisfied with parking on campus. This conclusion can be drawn because the observed count was 98 and the expected count was 89.9 for respondents who answered yes to the independent variable and highly unsatisfied for the dependent variable. Also, the adjusted residual was 2.3, which is greater than 2.

Has difficulty finding parking made you late for class? Highly

Unsatisfied

Unsatisfied Neutral Satisfied Highly Satisfied
No

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

17

21.1

-1.3

18

17.7

.1

7

8.0

-.4

4

3.6

.2

4

1.8

1.8

Yes

Observed Count

Expected Count

Adjusted Residual

98

89.9

2.3

78

75.2

.8

36

34.1

.7

16

15.5

.3

6

7.7

-.3

Discussion and Conclusion

The results of this survey show that many undergraduate students are affected negatively by the parking situation on the University of Iowa campus and in downtown Iowa City.  According to the students who participated in this survey, the amount of money spent on having the ability to park, as well as parking tickets and other related fees seems highly unreasonable.

The lack of parking around campus is an unnecessary added stress to students who already have to deal with the high cost of the University of Iowa education and the expense of being an Iowa City resident. Not only is it a burden, but it could possibly contribute to tardiness to class, which could result in the decline of grades, or tardiness to those who work, which could result in penalty.

In hopes to improve the parking situation around campus, participants were asked to rate various future parking options on how effective of a solution they would be.  These future options include creating a pre-paid student-only ramp, being able to charge parking fees to the U-Bill parking, having credit card meters, and having credit card capability at university parking ramps/lots.  Overall, students were highly in favor of these future options and though that they would help to improve their satisfaction with parking.

From gaining the insight of the thoughts and opinions toward the University of Iowa parking situation from Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors, our group was not only able to confirm our hypotheses, but we were also able to hear the frustration from the University of Iowa student body.  As the surveyors, we hope that our findings and the opinions about future parking options expressed by students will influence the University of Iowa Parking and Transportation Department when making decisions about the future of parking.

Allison Miller
Intro to Mass Comm

The students of the University of Iowa have expressed much annoyance over the topic of late-night. The feud between NBC, Jay Leno, and Conan O’Brien has been ongoing for months. It seems there is no end. Will this controversy hurt NBC’s ratings? There is much speculation that NBC could be hurting, due to the poor handling of this situation, once the late-night series is altered. This controversy is covered a lot in the media, which reaches out to a lot of students. What side are the students on? To decide if this topic was of much importance to them, we released a poll to approximately 1600 undergraduate students. 201 responses were received back.
According to the poll, 182 students were aware of the conflict and only 15 of them were unaware completely. This is interesting because of how much press this conflict received. It is important to realize that not every person watches the news or cares about public issues, especially ones that are minor in the world.
It looks like bad news for NBC, 54.5% of the students polled believed NBC’s ratings would be affected negatively. Only a miniscule 12.1% thought there would be a positive effect, leaving 32.8% to having no effect, and .5% to another category. One student’s suggestion for improving these ratings, “I would have gone back in time and not given Jay Leno a prime time talk show on the network; since time travel is not currently a viable option, I would have honored Conan O’Brien’s contract to be host of The Tonight Show and let Leno leave the network.” This would be a great option; however, we cannot turn back a clock. On another hand, another student states that the spot should be given “to the host with the best ratings.”
120 people polled believed Leno’s ratings would be hurt once NBC made the switch back because he had been gone for so long and people were angry with him. Many cannot wait for his return to his original time slot just to see if these stats hold true. Conan’s ratings are thought to skyrocket when he finds a new show to host. A whopping 134 polled thought Conan would not get bad ratings. We hope to see how this plays out.
Seeing as the students decided that Conan’s ratings were not going to decrease and Leno’s were thought to increase, I would have to come to the conclusion that Conan is the most favorable. Although the poll states that 97 people believe Jay Leno was favored, 87 for Conan still linger right behind. These were based solely on the publicity and the rewarded time slot to Jay Leno. Clearly, this is a huge controversy and a lot of University of Iowa students showed a lot of support through polling. Hopefully, NBC can get their stuff together so they do not lose so much money next time.

Tim McLaughlin

5/6/2010

019:169:002 Introductory Topics Mass Communication

Qingjiang Yao

Group Project

Individual Poll Story

Poll: UI Students Agree with Campus Smoking Ban
More than 70% of students surveyed believe the ban is fair, improves overall health
IOWA CITY, IA—Nearly two years after the University of Iowa implemented a campus-wide smoking ban, UI students say that they “strongly agree” with the ban and are well-aware of it. In a survey conducted by a group in Qingjiang Yao’s 019:169:002 Introductory Topics Mass Communication class, 210 UI students took part in an online survey from April 2 to April 28. The response rate for the survey was 21%, 50% for sampling proportion, 20574 for population and 95% for confidence interval.

One of the questions asked participants whether or not they were aware of the ban and 97% of students responded that they were indeed aware of the ban, while just 3% were unaware of the ban. Similarly, another questions asked participants whether or not they agreed with the ban.
A combination of 17% of participants said that they smoke cigarettes either once per week, twice per week, three times per week, four to six times per week, or every day. This result is contrary to a study analyzed by the group before performing their survey. In a survey done by the State of Texas, 30% of those surveyed said that they smoked in the past 30 days.

“I do not smoke, but I do know about the ban because of the signs on campus and what I see on the news,” said UI senior business major, Anna Ganske.
Asked whether or not they agree with the smoking ban, nearly three fourths of participants responded that they “strongly agree,” while approximately one fourth of participants believed the ban to be unfair. Similarly, a large majority of participants believe that the greatest benefit of the smoking ban is for health purposes. This response is supported by a different study that the group analyzed prior to conducting the UI survey. In a study conducted by the Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association and Journal of the American College of Cardiology, an average of 17% fewer heart attacks occurred in the year after the ban was implemented in American, Canadian, and European cities and in years thereafter, a 26% decrease in heart attacks.

“I think the ban is a good thing here on campus and I believe that the tremendous health benefits that go along with the ban make it necessary,” said Ganske.

The University of Iowa smoking ban is coming to the end of its second year, and its effects are being seen around campus.

By Maggie Cunningham

It has been almost two years since the University of Iowa smoking ban went into effect, and students are recognizing its benefits.
According to a study done by UI journalism students, 70.3 percent of students surveyed “strongly agree” with the statement ‘Overall, people at the University of Iowa benefit from the smoking ban in regards to their health.’ And an additional 9.9 percent agreed.
Wes Freie, a senior, said, “I see less and less smokers around campus, and I like it. I used to smoke, but I used the ban as a way to help myself quit. As of July 1, 2010, I haven’t had a cigarette in two whole years. I feel better, and because of the ban I’m not tempted by other smokers on campus.”
Although the majority has seen the smoking ban as a successful plan thus far, there is a small group of people that do not. 11.9 percent of the people surveyed said they saw no benefits to the smoking at all.
Lisa Gariti, a sophomore, said, “I don’t think the ban has done much at all to stop the smoking. I can’t walk to class without getting stuck behind someone with a cigarette. If there was better enforcement of the ban then the benefits would probably be greater.”
Some people have not seen the benefits to the smoking, but according to a study done by the University of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Public Health people’s health is benefitting. “There has been a 24 percent decrease in Iowa hospital admissions for coronary heart disease and a decrease in admissions for heart attacks and strokes since the state restricted smoking.”
The University of Iowa smoking ban began July 1, 2008. It started as a part of the Smoke-Free Air Act, and it banned smoking in all university owned buildings, vehicles, and on university owned property.
University of Iowa alum, Nate Price said, “When I attended UI we didn’t have the smoking ban and when I go back I notice the difference. I can’t imagine the large effect this has had on people’s health. My only wish was they started when I was there.”

Ryne George

Intro. Mass Comm.

May 6, 2010

Poll Story

2 years later – Do University of Iowa students agree with the smoking ban?

Seeing a person smoking on the University of Iowa campus is a rare sight anymore. Of course you will see the occasional rebel blowing smoke outside the library but it is not as common anymore since the smoking ban was enforced in July of 2008. A lot of time has passed since the ban started so how do the students feel about the ban? A recent survey conducted by nine University of Iowa undergraduates gives some insight on the ban.

The survey polled just over 200 U of Iowa students asking a range of questions from “Do you smoke cigarettes?” to “Do you think the smoking ban is fair?” The group who conducted the survey had figured students would agree with the ban mostly because it is a health benefit for the student population when people aren’t releasing second hand smoke in the air. On the other end of the spectrum, they were expecting smokers to disagree with the ban and thinking it was unfair.

As expected, most students, 70%, agree with the ban while 15% did not agree. Knowing this helps University of Iowa officials determine if the ban is beneficial and popular amongst everyone. Something important to look closer at is whether people view the ban as fair. Health is the main reason people are supporting this ban. With recent studies proving that smoking bans could help prevent 100,000 to 225,000 heart attacks a year, it is no surprise 70% of students like the ban. Other reasons included:

}  Avoiding a” smokey” scent when going out to the bars or restaurants.

}  The social atmosphere is more appealing without smokers around.

}  The ban could actually help make people quit smoking since they don’t have a lot of opportunities to smoke.

Other universities have smoking bans and many feel that people’s rights are being violated when the university passes a law that says a person is not allowed to do something.

25% of the people polled thought the smoking ban was unfair to smokers. While the number is relatively small, since the sample was 200, it is still relevant to look into taking certain measures to hearing proposals to make the ban fair.

At this moment, smokers can smoke at certain areas of the sidewalk that the City of Iowa City own but that is about it on campus. Should the U of I designate certain areas for smokers?

The University of Iowa has done the correct thing by banning smoking on the campus. The survey done proves this because a lot of people agree with it but should the university stop there? The U of I should have serious discussions about the smokers who are affected by this ban. If they are old enough to buy tobacco products than they should be able to smoke them in a designated area. This will make the smokers happy and keep the rest of the public away from deadly secondhand smoke.