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Searching for the President: Analysis of Search Engine Results from the 2008 Presidential Election

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abstract
More than half of the voting population reported using the Internet as a source of political information during the 2008 political campaign (Smith, 2009). Although past communication research has focused on the characteristics of messages presented on political candidate Web sites, it has not looked at third-party sources, such as newspaper sites, and scholars have not investigated the relationship between search engines and the types of Web page that result from candidate searches. The current study examined the URLs, sources, and representations of Barack Obama and John McCain generated by Web searches for the 2008 presidential candidates. By examining the results of Google, Yahoo, and Ask.com searches, the study analyzed search engines as structural frameworks for online political information (Dahlgren, 2005) and examined the extent to which search engines acted as market-oriented information seeking services (see Goldman, 2008; Introna & Nissenbaum, 2000, etc.) or public sphere supporting softwares (see Keane, 2000, etc.). While the differences among the results were smaller than previous research has found, the URL and source type results illustrated structural variations among the search engines and depicted a market-based search engine system.
subject
Search Engines
Public Sphere
Presidential Campaigns
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Other social sciences::Media and communication studies
contributor
Muddiman, Ashley (author)
Louden, Allan (committee chair)
Rogan, Randall (committee member)
Smith, Kathy (committee member)
date
2009-05-06T15:27:26Z (accessioned)
2010-06-18T18:59:30Z (accessioned)
2009-05-06T15:27:26Z (available)
2010-06-18T18:59:30Z (available)
2009-05-06T15:27:26Z (issued)
degree
Communication (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/14860 (uri)
language
en_US (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
rights
Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide. (accessRights)
title
Searching for the President: Analysis of Search Engine Results from the 2008 Presidential Election
type
Thesis

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