Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mass Communication

Document Type



This is a follow up study to a 2000 report, which measured and compared Illinois state legislators’ attitudes and perceptions toward constituent e-mail, and its impact on personal political agendas. Along with measuring attitudes, this study sought to measure and compare the impact of advances in e-mail technology on Illinois legislators’ use of e-mail as a political tool of communication. The panel comparison consisted of 59% of respondents who participated in both the 2000 and the 2004 study. A survey conducted in February 2000 showed that 89% of Illinois legislators had an active e-mail address, but only 65% of those legislators agreed that they were using e-mail to communicate with constituents, albeit very infrequently. Legislators’ inability to determine the origin of e-mail negatively affected constituent e-mail’s impact on legislators’ personal political agendas. Despite this minimal impact, legislators indicated a strong future reliance on e-mail as a form of communication. Improvements in e-mail technology, especially filtering systems like Echo-mail, could greatly affect legislators’ attitudes and perceptions, thus changing constituent e-mail’s impact on legislators’ political agendas. This study aspires to gauge the impact of advancing e-mail technology on Illinois legislators’ perceptions and attitudes toward constituent e-mail.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Louis Day