Proximity theory and information-system acquisition techniques Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/vd66w359x

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  • 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?" DEFINITION 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. HYPOTHESIS The results of this study do not substantiate accepting the null hypothesis: 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. METHOD 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 technique. 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). FINDINGS 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 its yield. 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. CONCLUSION 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 surveyor.
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