|Abstract or Summary
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Document-based educational information systems require systematic
acquisition efforts that must be conscientiously undertaken to build an
information system and to keep it current. These acquisition efforts
can be influenced by several variables. The major thrust of this
research was to investigate one of these variables, namely proximity.
Simply stated, "What relationships exist between proximal distance and
the effectiveness of acquisition techniques?"
Proximity - nearness in time, place, and context. Related to
familiarity, similarity, and recency. Cognitive proximity is the
perception of nearness in time, place, and context.
The results of this study do not substantiate accepting the null
There is no significant difference in the: (1) number of VI/CM
received, (2) their relative acceptability (as measured by a
panel), or the (3) elapsed time for receipt of the VI/CM from
randomly selected samples of respondents in the letter, phone,
and personal visitation groups.
This writer collected vocational instructional/curriculum materials
(VI/CM) pertaining to a national curriculum survey project by
visiting one randomly selected group of 49 resource people, telephoning
another randomly selected group of 72 people, and mailing letters to a
third group of 91 randomly selected people. The 121 documents that
were collected were then reviewed by five judges to determine their
applicability to the project goals.
Assessment of the effectiveness of individual acquisition techniques
(visit, phone, or letter) was based on:
1. The actual number of documents collected by that particular
2. The number of days that elapsed between the actual request and
the receipt of the VI/CM.
3. The relative "applicability" of the VI/CM as rated by the
panel of reviewers in terms of the stated project goals (outlined
in Appendix C).
I. Study results indicate that the visitation technique is by far
the most effective means of acquiring VI/CM.
2. The mail technique is of a one-way communication type. It is
the most economical for large numbers of sources, but it was
also the least acceptable of the three techniques in terms of
3. The telephone technique allows for two-way communication. It
has the capability of developing trust, cooperation, and cognitive
proximity. However, as is the case with the mail technique,
the phone technique requires that the resource person
initiate some action after the conversation; i.e. he must
gather the desired VI/CM and mail them. The person may or may
not follow through with this action.
4. The visitation technique was demonstrated to be the most efficient
technique used in this study. The two-way verbal and
visual communication that characterizes visitation, together
with the physical proximity of the surveyor to the resource
person, allowed for the development of unit relationships
which seemingly resulted in trust or cooperation.
This study is sufficiently suggestive to warrant belief in a positive
relationship between acquisition-system effectiveness and the
formation of cognitive proximity between the resource person and the