Knowledge Gap

Yoori Hwang and Brian Southwell

in Communication

ISBN: 9780199756841
Published online February 2011 | | DOI:
Knowledge Gap

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The essential notion of the knowledge gap is the proposition that a discrepancy exists in the knowledge that people of varying socioeconomic levels attain when engaging mass media content. In other words, the information-rich get richer when reading newspapers or watching television news reports, whereas those with relatively less background knowledge typically gain information at a comparatively lesser rate. The knowledge-gap hypothesis, explicitly formulated by Tichenor, Donohue, and Olien in 1970, goes beyond suggesting a simple knowledge difference between those with more and less formal education. What the hypothesis suggests is not just that there is a gap in knowledge between groups but also that this gap in knowledge widens as more information enters a society. The knowledge gap hypothesis has stimulated communication research in the United States and elsewhere since 1970. So far, researchers have published more than one hundred studies directly considering the knowledge-gap notion, and scholars have widely cited knowledge gap research in many different disciplines.

Article.  7244 words. 

Subjects: Communication Studies

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