Noble, Elisa Lynn (2005-08). Sources of information utilized by California agricultural interest groups. Master's Thesis.
Existing interest group theory describes legislative decision-making as a communication process whereby interest groups research information on issues, combine this information with constituent opinions, and present the resulting information to legislators. Legislators then use this information in developing legislation. The original source of information used by lobbyists greatly impacts the interest group??????s ability to effectively represent its policy objectives in the decision-making process. The purpose of this study was to identify and evaluate sources of information utilized by selected California agricultural interest groups. This study determined common sources used among selected California agricultural interest groups, how and why groups choose their sources, the role of trust in information source selection, and what purposes interest groups have for using the information. Data from this study suggest lobbyists of California agricultural interest groups are primarily researching for lobbying purposes. Lobbyists acknowledged the importance of research in their lobbying work. Specifically, two main themes developed from the interviewees?????? responses: 1) lobbyists gather the political and technical information needed to thoroughly understand an issue before lobbying on it, and 2) lobbyists find the appropriate information to support their organization??????s policy objectives. The purpose of their research and the type of information needed drive how lobbyists research an issue and what information sources they utilize. Lobbyists rely on their previous experiences to determine which sources will provide them with the necessary information. Data from this study suggest four main factors that impact which information sources lobbyists choose to utilize: 1) what information is needed, 2) who their contacts and personal relationships are with, 3) how much they trust potential sources, and 4) other characteristics of the sources such as accessibility, quality and accuracy, brevity and readability, experience of source, current information, scientifically-based, sincere, and/or a source that provides needed pictures or graphics.