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Research Proposal: Does Social Media Election Campaigns Influence the Voters

Updated on February 2, 2017

Introduction

In the past, political campaigning entailed going out of the road and meeting constituents face-to face. It generally was meeting up with all groups of citizens from social elite to the average citizen and one tried to gain support through physical presence. This form of campaigning is still valid in the today’s society. However, like many other things, it has been supplanted by social media. With time, it is increasingly difficult for political advertisers and campaigners to reach all audiences through the traditional methods because of the rapid growth in social and digital media. Because of this, campaigners have resolved to social media campaigns in order to reach a wider audience. Because of this, there is need to investigate whether the social media election campaigns have an influence on voters.

Problem statement

The proposal illustrates the proposal, which is as a result of an increase of social media election campaigns. The key factor is that in addition to the traditional campaign methods, social media has become one of the most vital methods of conducting election campaigns (Karlsen & Enjolras, 2016). Most studies that have been conducted in the past have only shown social media as a tool that is being used to carry out campaigns. However, the studies have not indicated whether the social media election campaigns have an influence on voters. The aim of this study is to establish whether the social media election campaigns have an influence on voters.

In the past, social sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which allow the conducting of elections campaigns, did not exist (Spierings & Jacobs, 2014). Today, these sites are mostly utilized by people in interactions and many things as opposed to face-to face methods of communication.

Research Questions

The study aims at coming up with the answers to the following questions in relation to the research topic.

a. Is there a relationship between the election outcomes and the social media campaigns?

b. Is there a notable difference in the scores of those who use traditional methods of campaigning with those who include both the traditional and social media campaigns?

c. Can a person merely win elections by only using social media election campaigns?

The research questions will be used to provide information that is necessary to answer the problem question. The questions will first indicate the various forms of social media platforms used for election campaigns. The questions will also determine the influence of using social media for election campaigns while comparing it with the traditional methods (Suiter, 2015). The questions are for that reason adequate to fill the gap of knowledge existing.

Variable and Hypotheses

Hypotheses

The study hypotheses aim at attaining the objectives of the study in a manner that they will be used to give an answer to the questions under research.

1. There is a relationship between election outcomes and social media campaigns

2. People who use both and traditional and social media election campaigns are likely to score higher compared to those who only use traditional methods of campaigns.

3. It is not likely for one to only win based on social media election campaigns

Variables

Independent variable-social media

Dependent variable-election outcome

Other variables-time taken to conduct the campaigns, age

The study does not cover a big range of dependent and independent variables. The variables will be used to show how a change in one influences the other.

Measurement and operational definitions

This problem does not necessarily need scooping, as there exist various studies that have been carried out in the past. In additional the data presentation method would be simple. There would be a qualitative measuring of the variables in order to establish the relationship between them. Depending on the type of relationship, one will be able to establish whether the dependent variable is directly affected by the independent variable. An error of about 5% is expected.

Methodology

Sampling

A sample of 100 people would be selected randomly among the Australian voting population. The random selection of the sample is the best approach for purposes of obtaining the correct information. The approach will be suitable for all groups of people especially the youth who are active social media users. In addition to this, the sample would be made of middle-aged people who are conversant with both the traditional and social media election campaigns.

The only limitation to this approach would be that some of the middle-aged people might not be conversant with social media election campaigns because others might not be active users. For that reasons it would be necessary to survey the study population in the initial sampling stage.

Data collection techniques

There will be the use of interviews hence making structured interviews a suitable method where the participants would be required to answer a set of standard questions. The interviews will also entail over the phone interviews because of the possibility of some the participants being busy. Some of the questions would be asked during a face-to-face meeting in order to allow the interviewer gauge the validity of the answers given. The information given would then be tape-recorded for the purposes of documentation. The method is time efficient as well as cost-effective because there will be no need to write down the answers. Observation method will also be used to gather data because of its simplicity cost effectiveness as well as effectiveness. The main problem that would arise as a result of using the observation method it that it would be influenced by inadequacy as well as environmental conditions.

Data analysis

Since the data collected will be quantitative in nature, the best methods for data analysis will be exploratory and descriptive analysis.

Research process

The key issue is to either reject or support the hypothesis. The sample would be collected randomly then divided according to age. The materials include mobile phones and laptops to assist during the interview. The data would then be analyzed and findings presented.

Conclusion and Recommendation

The study aims at answering the question whether social media campaigns influence the voters. The concern that social media election campaigns are currently not regulated needs to be answered. For that reasons, future studies should investigate this.

References

Creswell, J. W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method

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Dillman, D. A., Eltinge, J. L., Groves, R. M., & Little, R. J. A. (2002). Survey nonresponse in

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Dimitrova, D. V., Shehata, A., Strömbäck, J., & Nord, L. W. (2014). The Effects of Digital Media on Political Knowledge and Participation in Election Campaigns: Evidence From Panel Data. Communication Research, 41(1), 95-118.

Gill, P., Stewart, K., Treasure, E., & Chadwick, B. (2008). Methods of data collection in qualitative research: interviews and focus groups. Br Dent J, 204(6), 291-295.

Karlsen, R. (2010). Does new media technology drive election campaign change?. Information Polity: The International Journal Of Government & Democracy In The Information Age, 15(3), 215-225.

Karlsen, R., & Enjolras, B. (2016). Styles of Social Media Campaigning and Influence in a Hybrid Political Communication System. International Journal Of Press/Politics, 21(3), 338-357.

In R. M. Groves, D. A. Dillman, J. L. Eltinge, & R. J. A. Little (Eds.), Survey nonresponse (pp. 3-26). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Savin-Baden, M. & Major, C. (2013). Qualitative research: The essential guide to theory and practice. London: Rutledge.

Spierings, N., & Jacobs, K. (2014). Getting Personal? The Impact of Social Media on Preferential Voting. Political Behavior, 36(1), 215-234.

Suiter, J. (2015). Political Campaigns and Social Media: A Study of #mhe13 in Ireland. Irish Political Studies, 30(2), 299-309.

Holt, K., Shehata, A., Strömbäck, J., & Ljungberg, E. (2013). Age and the effects of news media attention and social media use on political interest and participation: Do social media function as leveller?. European Journal Of Communication, 28(1), 19-34.

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