Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. John K. Brilhart


Performance and message consequences of encoding belief incongruent editorials were examined in this study. Twenty-six students enrolled in News Editing completed a student option survey, containing scales for both direction and intensity of belief. Approximately two weeks later they were asked to write editorials on two propositions determined to be strongly-held beliefs. Each subject was required to write one editorial congruent with personal belief and one belief-incongruent editorial. Subjects were assigned at random so that 14 did the belief-congruent encoding first and 12 did the belief-incongruent first. The research hypotheses -- that when encoding belief-incongruent editorial subjects would make more spelling and punctuation errors, take longer to write, produce fewer words per minute, and write less readable messages than when encoding belief-congruent editorials – were rejected. However, time, rate and readability for the second editorial improved significantly over the first editorial. These results suggest that students’ writing apprehension decreases and performance improves from a first to second encoding, regardless of whether they are writing belief-congruent or belief-incongruent editorials. The author suggests a need to incorporate order effect as variable into future studies on belief-congruent vs. belief-incongruent message encoding.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1978 Leanna Skarnulis.