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Communication Studies Professors Conduct Focus Group with CNN During Republican Debate

Professors Dan Schill and Rita Kirk use dial-testing to gauge voters’ reactions to Republican candidates

At the invitation of CNN, Assistant Professor Dan Schill and Professor Rita Kirk of the Communication Studies Division conducted a dial-testing focus group in New Hampshire during the Republican debate on June 13. A group of 21 Republican-leaning voters assembled in the Rochester Opera House and watched the debate among seven candidates, using handheld “perception analyzers” equipped with dials that the voters continuously moved right or left, registering their immediate positive and negative responses to what was said.

The professors’ research graph ran live on and the website of WMUR-TV, the region’s ABC affiliate. The focus group was featured on CNN in the hour after the debate and in a news segment the following morning, and Schill gave several interviews to WMUR.

Two Communications Studies students, Caitlin Shaughnessy and Ashley Bonnin, served as research assistants. “They were able to see the debate and the New Hampshire primary process up close, and to gain hands-on experience in research design, data collection and data analysis,” said Schill.

To read the CNN story, click here:

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