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Executive Summary

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 3 months ago
Executive Summary 
The Spiral of Silence is a subject that needs to be talked about. The more we research, the more we discover what the silence is about. In our research, we found that many sought to uncover something new or relating to the theory, only to come up with partial support for it. Besides that, fear of isolation and media influences were the biggest factors, but they did not shed new light on why the Spiral of Silence is apart of our world.
Theorists set out to test subject reaction. Some looked at perception and how different situations may change people’s answers (Gonzenbach 1992), (Katz 1992). Gonzenbach used a video with fake approval ratings, which the audience believed was real. It worked, yet only partially with the theory. Some subjects conformed to the number on the screen due to the threat of public review, not the Spiral of Silence. With the Katz study, they wanted to see if the minority would be less likely to speak up. The participants were asked via phone if they would publicly share their political opinions. The findings didn’t show a difference between the majority and minority.
Other studies tested the theory’s consistency over different areas. In the (Detenber 2004) study, two identical phone surveys using controversial issues were used with Singapore, and The United States to see if subjects would publicly talk about these issues. Findings were inconclusive. Some stated fear of isolation, but many participant decisions were unclear. Another study saw The United States and Taiwan testing willingness to speak out in different cultures (Huang 2005). In a telephone survey, Taiwan did have a spiral of silence with fear of isolation being the main reason. The Untied States however did not. 
Media was studied to test its influence on viewers. Studies looked at how we are involved in media and how it affects us (Shanahan 2004), (Perry 2000), (Jeffres 1999). Media has an effect, but none were completely successful in seeing the true effect of the Spiral of Silence.
In the theory of Spiral of Silence, studies have hit a grey area, where it is not clear if it’s spiral of silence or other forces contributing. Many studies came up with only partial support. In the Glynn study, they looked at many meta- analyses of published and unpublished surveys looking at willingness to speak out with support (Glynn 1997). Those findings were inconclusive. Another study looked at how we use the theory (Hayes 2007). Subjects who were set up in the Spiral of Silence expressed uncertainty, and avoided the question to get away from expressing their opinion. Another study looked at prediction of the theory (Gonzenbach 2000), seeing if it could be controlled. Some studies stated that fear of isolation and media influences are huge factors of the theory; yet most of our sources called out for more research to be done. The problem lies with the research, asking the right questions and unlocking that which is so hard to understand; studying the silence. 

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