Date of Award
Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)
Public Policy and Administration
Mark W. Davis, Ph.D., MPA
Kristen B. Crossney, Ph.D.
As the online spread of misinformation increases, policymakers are finding it more difficult to ensure that the public is only exposed to the evidence they share and that their evidence is believed. Policymakers find they must now combat misinformation spread by a variety of entities. This dissertation explored thematic concepts regarding information in existing literature – information as a thing, information as a public good, information as propaganda, information use by elected officials, and information on social media. This dissertation exposed participants to conservative and liberal misinformation and corrective information to determine how they processed policy information. This study explored if the political nature of a resource, a person’s political ideology, and political party can influence participants’ trust of resources and the believability of policy information. It repeatedly measured participants’ policy support levels to identify if exposure to misinformation and corrective information has a significant impact on their support of a policy. The experiments measured these effects regarding climate change, immigration, and transgendered individuals serving in the military policy. This dissertation revealed misinformation and corrective information does not have a significant influence on person’s support of a policy. This study also confirmed that the political leaning of a source, political ideology, and political party values, in some cases, can sway if a person trusts a resource or if they believe policy information. This study determined that people are more likely to believe misinformation in conservative resources and conservatives are more likely to not trust corrective information, no matter the source.
Hann, Amy E., "Evidence-Based Policy and Misinformation: Exploring the Public’s Processing of Information" (2020). West Chester University Doctoral Projects. 79.