Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Dallinger, Carl A.||Tucker, Charles O.||Gray, Philip A.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Speech


Discussion; Attitude change


The purpose of this thesis was to compare the effects of the open question method, the case method, and the systematic introduction of new information method of discussion on the attitude responses of students engaged in classroom discussion. The systematic introduction of new information method, a new discussion method developed for this experiment, differed from traditional discussion methods in that new items of information were added periodically to the discussion. The systematic introduction method was designed to develop objectivity-openmindedness among student discussants primarily through self-examination of individual attitudes. This method was also designed to help reduce the tendency of student discussants to digress from the major issues of the problem under discussion. For the purposes of this thesis, attitude was defined as the predisposition to perceive, think, and feel in a set manner toward a given issue. Attitude change was defined as a shift in the predisposition to perceive in a set manner toward a given issue as measured by responses to Likert Attitude Scales. The population used in this experiment consisted of 117 students enrolled in the lecture-discussion sections of the basic speech course at Northern Illinois University during the Spring semester. 1967. In all, seven sections were used. Each section was arbitrarily divided into three groups; one group within each section was assigned to the open question method, another group within each section was assigned to the case method, while the remaining group within e oh section, was assigned to the systematic introduction of new information method. The following experimental procedure was replicated seven times. At the beginning of the class period, all students were given a ten item Likert Attitude Scale to complete. Following the administration of the scale, all three groups within each section began to discuss the issue of open occupancy. The open question group discussed the question, "Assuming that a Negro buyer gives the best offer, should a white person sell his home to a Segro buyer?" The case method and the systematic introduction of new information method groups discussed a specific case in which a white person had to decide whether or not to sell his home to a Negro. All groups within the section were allotted one half hour for discussion. Upon completion of the discussions, a second Likert Attitude Scale of ten items on open occupancy was distributed. Upon completion of the administration of the second attitude scale, the student-discussants were dismissed. A comparison between pre-discussion Likert Attitude Scale scores and post-discussion Likert Attitude Scale scores was made in order to determine shifts in attitude. An analysis of variance, (using a replications design), was conducted to determine the retention or rejection of the following null hypothesis: There is no significant difference between the amount of attitude change induced; by the systematic introduction of new information into a discussion and the amount of attitude change induced by either the open question or case method of discussion. The results of the analysis of variance indicated that the null hypothesis should be retained. Two conclusions were drawn from this study. First, the three types of discussion seemed equally effective in inducing attitude change. Second, since all three discussion methods seemed equally effective, the systematic introduction method can be considered as an alternative method for use in the teaching of discussion.


Includes bibliographical references.


vii, 81 pages




Northern Illinois University

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