political science document for unverisites

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American Political Science ReviewVol. 108, No. 4November 2014c American Political Science Association 2014doi:10.1017/S0003055414000392The Question(s) of Political KnowledgeJASON BARABAS Stony Brook UniversityJENNIFER JERIT Stony Brook UniversityWILLIAM POLLOCK Stony Brook UniversityCARLISLE RAINEY University at BuffaloPolitical knowledge is a central concept in the study of public opinion and political behavior. Yetwhat the field collectively believes about this construct is based on dozens of studies using differentindicators of knowledge. We identify two theoretically relevant dimensions: a temporal dimensionthat corresponds to the time when a fact was established and a topical dimension that relates to whetherthe fact is policy-specific or general. The resulting typology yields four types of knowledge questions. In ananalysis of more than 300 knowledge items from late in the first decade of the 2000s, we examine whetherclassic findings regarding the predictors of knowledge withstand differences across types of questions. Inthe case of education and the mass media, the mechanisms for becoming informed operate differentlyacross question types. However, differences in the levels of knowledge between men and women arerobust, reinforcing the importance of including gender-relevant items in knowledge batteries.olitical knowledge has been described as a cornerstone construct in research on political behavior (Mondak 2001, 238), influencing ev

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