Research Design The design of the study is researcher's plan for assembling and organizing certain concrete facts or data by following certain specific rules and procedure. It includes deciding exactly what kind of facts to gather and for the researcher to be guided by the research model. (Okereke, 2003:86) This study examined the level of audience trust and reliability on the Nigerian mass media as purveyors of strategic information. A generalization arising from this exercise would help determine in concrete terms the level of credibility assigned to Nigerian media organizations by the target audiences. The survey research method was adopted in this study. Okafor (2002:177) posits that sample survey is an investigation in which only a part or sample of the population is studied and the selection is made such that the sample is representative of the whole population. It enabled the researcher to have a good representation of the population to respond to the subject of this study. This research approach was adopted since the work is an impact study.
Population of the Study
According to Ohaja (2003:75) the population for a study refers to all those persons or things that fall under the umbrella of the topic or that can be examined to address the research problem or meet the research objectives. Theoretically, therefore, all the males and females who listen to radio, watch television, read newspaper and magazines in Nigeria form the population of this study. It is this group that the study aims at generalizing its result to see how it appreciates media ownership as the predominant factor of credibility used by media organizations. However, time and resources made it difficult to use the said population, since its location and size are so much to be addressed in a case study, like this. The researcher therefore, chose practicable option, using a population that contains males and females, similar to what obtains in the Nigeria population. Besides, there is no single Nigerian media house that can reach every male and female in Nigeria at the same time. The best achievable contact is the one made through programme networking by the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN and the Nigeria Television Authority, NTA. The researcher therefore, used the listeners of the Ebonyi Broadcasting Service, EBBS, in Abakaliki as its case study.Sample Size The area of study was divided into six zones, like the geo-political zones of theFederal Republic of Nigeria. The zones were: Isieke, Azugwu, Presco, Sam Egwu way, Afikpo Road and Onueke. A total of 300 persons were purposively chosen by the researcher, from the six zones. The selection was necessitated by the impracticability of studying the entire population in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital. This sample was considered appropriate for this multivariate study. According to Wimmer and Dominick (2011:103) ...50 = very poor; 100 = poor; 200 = fair; 300 = good, 500 = very good and 1000 = excellent. The chosen sample was made up of males and females who are easily reached by the EBBC radio, due to their location in Abakaliki, where the radio station is also located.
3.4 Sampling Technique
Again, the stratified sampling technique was used to ensure adequate representation of each member of the population. The population figure obtained for each zone from the National Population Commission's Office, in Abakaliki, enables the selection of the sample from the zones in a stratified manner. The details were as follows:
Zone Isieke Azugwu Presco Sam Egwu way Afikpo Road Onueke Total
Population 5,110 5,560 6,020 5,905 5,112 5,202 32,909
Sample 50 50 50 50 50 50 300
The unit of selection was 10 persons to represent every 1000 persons. The index was used to ensure that every person in the population was represented by an equal stratifying template.
Instrument for Data Collection
The questionnaire was used to elicit response on specific issues related to the study from the chosen sample. According to Okereke (2003:115) citing McNeill (1994), questionnaire is a list of questions to be asked by the researcher. It was prepared in such a manner that the questions were asked in exactly, the same way to every respondent. The questionnaire was designed in a canvasser style as to be conventionally administered physically by the researcher himself or through his field research assistants. It contained closed ended questions that present check-list of alternate responses from which to select an appropriate one. Open-ended questions that did not restrict the respondents to any set of optional responses were also provided in the questionnaire.
3.6 Procedure for Data Collection
The concrete facts or data analyzed in this study were generated through the questionnaire. Hence, a total of 300 copies of the questionnaire were produced and distributed to the respondents in an accidental random manner, within the area of study. A face-to-face distribution approach was adopted to ensure that the research instrument got to the selected zones as required. It also gave the researcher the opportunity to ensure that both males and females were included in the research sample. The obtained result forms the primary source of analyzable data for the study. Any other source, such as literary documents, therefore, becomes a secondary source. Validity of Research Instrument The content of the research instrument (questionnaire) was tested against the parameters of clarity and unambiguity. The questions were short and straight to the point. It was also ensured that the questions covered the topic adequately and that they were related to the topic under investigation. Again, the construction of the questions was done in a manner as to remove bias or prejudice. Hence, the validity of the research instrument is that the responses were original and impossible to trace with external criteria like behavioural realities and official records.
Reliability of Research Instrument
To ensure reliability, the researcher pre-tested the research instrument on a small group of respondents to ensure that objective observations could be made from the responses to address the research objectives. This reliability testing criterion known as test-re-test method enabled the researcher to construct the open ended questions in a way as to generate patterned responses. The result was a streamlinedaggregate data from which inferences were drawn to further the research objectives.
Method of Data Analysis
The obtained information from the respondents were collected and arranged in a specific table for analysis. The simple percentage approach of data analysis was used to illuminate the implications of the responses. The researcher used the graphical presentation style to put the indices of analysis into a proper focus. The style facilitates comparison so as to show the level of impact media ownership has on the target audience and effects credibility of media messages.
Mboho, M. (2004). Introduction to communication research. (Unpublished Lecture Notes, Abia State University, Uturu). N.P.C. (2006). National population census data: National Population Commission. Abakaliki Office.
Ohaja, E. U. (2003). Mass communication research and project report writing. Lagos: John Letterman Ltd.
Okafor, G. O. (2002). Communication research. In Okunna (Ed.) Teaching mass communication. A multi-dimensional approach. Enugu: New Generation Books.
Wimmer, R. D. & Dominick, J. R. (2011). Mass media Research: An Introduction. (10th ed.) California: Wads worth.
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