2.6 Theoretical Framework
The essence of taking recourse into relevant literature in scholarly works is to discover existing set of ideas or theory upon which framework the present study will be anchored. This invariably suggests that science proceeds from ideas (theory) to things (facts), not from things to ideas (Okereke 2003:61). Man engages in intellectual inquiry in order to acquire knowledge with which to solve human problems. But central to man's problem is his intrinsic desire to master events and phenomena around him. While his everyday past experiences constitute his wealth of knowledge with which to approach problems of the present, he instinctively craves for predictive power to enable him approach future events with some amount of certainty.
This in-born curiosity in man leads him to speculate, to undertake scientific studies and to theorize about hard realities facing him. According to Baran (2009:414), "mass communication theories are explanations and predictions of social phenomena that attempt to relate mass communication to various aspects of our personal and cultural lives or social systems". Severin and Tankard (1991:11-13) see it as a set of systematically related generalization suggesting new observations for empirical testing. The authors further note that theory is a business of science which enables us to make prediction about the outcome of certain events. Because no knowledge claim exists in a vacuum, the source credibility theory is selected to provide a conceptual framework and serve as a guide in the course of carrying out this research. Propounded in 1951 by Carl Hovland and Walter Weiss, source credibility theory belongs essentially to a set of theories known as the persuasion theories. According to Olson and Zanna (1993:135), persuasion is defined as attitude change resulting from exposure to information from others. Attitude refers basically to our predispositions towards things. It involves whether or not we like something. It is the raw materials from which opinions are generated and crystallized. Hovland and Weiss (1951), cited in Anaeto, Onabanjo and Osifeso (2008:76), explain that judging from many day-to-day examples of communication campaigns, there appears to be a widespread belief that having the right source can increase the effectiveness of a message. Hovland's researches that give rise to the above theory centered on source credibility, and the result shows that high-credibility source produces more opinion change than low-credibility source. In other words, persuasion is more effective, when high credibility source is used. The dimension of source credibility as suggested by Hovland and Weiss (1951:635) include expertness and trustworthiness. Thus, the major postulate of this theory is rooted in the fact that communication, nay persuasion takes place when the message comes from a source that is shrouded in or reputed for competence and reliability. Hence, this research work is under-girded by the framework that media credibility is a function of the expertise and trustworthiness the media are capable of bringing to bear on their messages.
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