Examining the relationship between rural middle school laptop programs and familial online shopping
Mary J. Doran, Northcentral University, United States
Northcentral University . Awarded
The purpose of this research was to examine the relationship between the assignment of laptops to public middle school students in remote, rural areas and the online shopping behavior of the parents of the students. The quantitative research study was conducted with the goal of an increased understanding of familial influences regarding the use of technology. The theoretical basis for the study was Everett Rogers' (1995) Innovation Diffusion Theory. A telephone survey was administered to randomly selected rural households in Maine and New Hampshire, states with and without publicly funded laptop programs, respectively. The analysis of the data supported, at the p=0.05 significance level, the hypothesis that there is no correlation between a rural child's participation in a school laptop program and previous online shopping of adult family members. The analysis supported the hypothesis of a correlation between a rural child's participation in a school laptop program and intent of adult family members to shop online within the next six months. Analysis of the data also suggested that there is a correlation between the amount of time a rural child spends using the Internet at home and the adult family member's intent to shop online.
Furthermore, the data indicated a correlation between a child in a laptop program teaching an adult family member about the Internet and the adult's intent to shop online. The benefits of this research extend to educators, legislators, business managers, marketers and researchers. Educators could use the study because the data analysis revealed that parents are influenced by the child's level of interest in the technology. The study could be used by legislators when considering whether to extend and improve high-speed Internet access to rural areas. The data indicated that 54.3% of rural consumers intend to use online shopping in the future, which may provide entrepreneurs and marketers with a better understanding of this group of consumers. Also, this research could be of value to researchers investigating factors in outshopping in rural areas and the implications of sales tax revenues generated or lost from online shopping.
Doran, M.J. Examining the relationship between rural middle school laptop programs and familial online shopping. Ph.D. thesis, Northcentral University.
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