Date of Award
Master of Science
Cecil E. Carter Jr.
Roy Lessly, George Smith
The main purpose of this study was to identify or disclose similarities or differences between county leaders perception of seven selected community problem areas. More specific objectives were to determine if: (1) the perception of community leaders from three audience groups differed; (2) community leaders perception changed over a time period; and (3) community leaders living in different areas differed in their perception of problem areas. A study population of 3,903 county leaders belonging to 12 survey audience groups from 86 Tennessee counties comprised the initial survey audiences. These 12 groups were combined by similarities into the: (1) extension-related audience; (2) non-extension-related audience; and (3) bankers audience. Tennessee counties were divided into three areas of residence by a combination of extension districts and geographic areas of Tennessee. The study areas of residence of community leaders were;(l) District I; (2) District II,III, and IV; and (3) District V. Data were analyzed by computer facilities provided by The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Computer Center. The Chi-Square Test was used to test the significance of the difference in the ratings . Major findings of the study included the following: 1. Significant differences did exist between the three audience groups ratings of five of seven community problem areas, in both 1980 and 1984. Additionally there was significant difference in the three audience groups ratings of one community problem area in 1980 but not in 1984. The extension, professional, and bankers audience groups were rated significantly different for five of seven community problem areas in 1980. The extension audience rated local agriculture and community organizations lower than the professional or bankers audience groups. The bankers audience rated conservation of soil, water, and timber; family living conditions; and recreational opportunities higher than did the extension or professional audience groups. Significant differences in four of seven community problem areas were found in 1984. The extension audience rated community organizations lower than either the professional or bankers audience groups. The bankers audience rated local agriculture and conservation of soil, water, and timber lower than either the extension or professional audience groups. Also, the bankers audience rated recreational opportunities higher than did the extension or professional audiences. 2. Significant differences were found between the 1980 and 1984 ratings of seven community problem areas. Findings imply that improvement was seen in three of seven community problem areas. Condition of homes, recreational opportunities, and community organizations were perceived as being better in 1984 than in 1980. The problem areas of; local agriculture; conservation of soil, water, and timber; and family income were perceived as being a more serious problem in 1984 than in 1980. Little change was found in family living conditions. 3. Significant differences were found between the three areas of residence of community leaders in six of seven community problem areas in 1984. The professional and all community leaders audiences in district V rated conservation of soil, water, and timber higher than either the extension or bankers audiences. Family income was rated lower by the extension, bankers, and all community leaders groups in district I than did those leaders from the two other areas of residence. Family living conditions were rated higher by the bankers audience in district I. Condition of homes were rated lower by the extension audience in district I and by the all community leaders group from district II,III,and IV. Recreational opportunities were rated higher by district V leaders from the extension, professional, and the all community leaders groups. Condition of homes was rated lower by the all community leaders group from district II,III,and IV. There was no significant difference observed in ratings of local agriculture between the three areas of residence.
Heiskell, George Michael, "A comparison of county leaders' perceptions of selected community problems in Tennessee. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1987.