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Dissertation Information for Joyce Hinricks Haas

NAME:
- Joyce Hinricks Haas

DEGREE:
- Ph.D.

DISCIPLINE:
- Library and Information Science

SCHOOL:
- Rutgers University (USA) (1971)

ADVISORS:
- Mary V. Gaver

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
- [Indecipherable1]
- Ralph Blasingame
- Ellis R. Ott
- Henry Voos

MPACT Status: Complete - Except Indecipherables

Title: ETHNIC POLARIZATION AND SCHOOL LIBRARY MATERIALS: A CONTENT ANALYSIS OF 1,939 FICTION BOOKS FROM 30 NEW JERSEY SCHOOL LIBRARIES

Abstract:

Questions

1. Do the fiction books provided by school libraries present an overall picture which supports our polarized (“Ethnic majority” and “ethnic minority”) society, or do they present an overall picture which might prepare children for changes in that society?
2. Does the ethic view of society presented I school library fiction collections vary significantly in schools of varying ethnic enrollment?



Methodology

The process of seeking the answers involved two steps:

1. The development of a method for analyzing the content of children’s fiction books which could reliably identify: a) characteristics of the characters portrayed (ethnic group, sex, age), b) characteristics of the spoken communications portrayed (ethnic group, sex, age of initiators and recipients; responses of recipients), and c) characteristics of the setting of the story (time, place).
2. The use of that method to describe the content of a large sample of fiction books from libraries in elementary schools of varying ethnic enrollment.



The method of content analysis developed involved identifying the characteristics (as outlined above) of a sample of characters and communications in each chapter of a book. Statistical tests showed that the method identified a sample of content data which reliably represented the total of such data in a book and that agreement among varying coders on the identification of sample data was significant at the .001 level

The method was used to describe a sample of content characteristics in a sample of fiction books from a sample of schools. A systematic sample of 1939 fiction titles was taken from the library shelf lists of 30 New Jersey elementary schools selected randomly from New Jersey K-6 schools (all those with libraries) divided into five strata of “ethnic minority” enrollment.

Fifty-one coders, of both sexes, of varying ages, and representing both “ethnic minority” and “ethnic majority” Americans, identified the content data which was then tabulated and “scored” by computer.

Findings

1. The books: The overall picture presented in the books was one in which a) European American and European characters, in American and European settings, overwhelmingly predominated; b) “ethnic minority” characters tended to be pictured separately and differently from “ethnic majority” characters; c) “integration was typically an adult-child relationship and “minority” and “majority” child characters rarely appeared together; d) models of intergroup communication rarely involved both “minority” and “majority” children; and e) the frequency of appearance of “minority” and “majority” characters, in the 534 books which portrayed “ethnic minority” characters, was quite polarized—with a large percentage of predominantly “majority” stories, a large number of predominantly “minority” stories and few stories in between. Contemporary stories and more recently published stories indicated a tendency toward fewer “minority” characters, fewer intergroup communications, and more totally segregated stories.
2. The school libraries: there were no statistically significant correlations between the ethnic characteristics of the fiction collections and the ethnic enrollment of the schools. However, there were correlations between the ethnic characteristics of the collections and ethnic and other characteristics of the countries in which the collections were located. In addition, weak correlations suggested that the more discriminating indices of ethnic content might correlate with ethnic enrollment if there were a sufficient number of books available in certain categories.



Conclusions

1. The method of content analysis developed is reliable and does reveal significant relationships among content characteristics when applied to a group of books.
2. The overall picture presented by the fiction in New-Jersey elementary school libraries offers little opposition to the ethic polarization in American society and does not support any trend toward a more integrated or less polarized society.
3. The ethnic content of a school library fiction collection may be so strongly related to factors outside the school—e.g. not only national but also regional patterns in the publication-distribution system – that variation of content characteristics with individual school characteristics is not possible.

MPACT Scores for Joyce Hinricks Haas

A = 0
C = 0
A+C = 0
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2008-01-31 06:09:00

Advisors and Advisees Graph

Directed Graph

Students under Joyce Hinricks Haas

ADVISEES:
- None

COMMITTEESHIPS:
- None