The Third Gulf War: Perceived Credibility of the Media Coverage


  • Margrit Schreier Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH
  • Özen Odag Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH
  • Norbert Groeben Universität zu Köln



political psychology, media psychology, reception studies, credibility, war coverage, gulf war


This contribution focuses on the credibility evaluation of media reports during the third Gulf War, concentrating on both the evaluations and the reasons why media recipients consider a particular contribution to be more or less credible. In this context credibility evaluation is conceptualized as involving several perspectives and taking into consideration aspects of both media content and form. Data were collected via media diaries that the participants sent the researchers by e-mail. The participants were asked to record the source and the content of the respective media report as well as their evaluation of this report as credible or not and the reasons for this evaluation. The sample consisted of a selective group of colleagues from a number of different universities in Germany and Austria (N=13). Content analysis of the entries shows that the participants regard 40% of the media reports they refer to as credible. Concerning the remaining reports, they are mostly ambivalent. Content analysis further shows that in evaluating a media report as credible, recipients most frequently draw upon their media knowledge and on plausibility considerations. When they regard a media report as dubious, the participants also draw on their media knowledge; in addition, formal characteristics such as lack of clarity and lack of detail also play an important role in such negative evaluations. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0402214


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Author Biographies

Margrit Schreier, Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

Margrit SCHREIER (, Prof. Dr., Professor of Empirical Methods in the Humanities and Social Sciences an der International University Bremen. Aktuelle Forschungsschwerpunkte: Integration "qualitativer" und "quantitativer" Methoden, Medienpsychologie, Sprachpsychologie, Attributionstheorie, Empirische Literaturwissenschaft.

Özen Odag, Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

Özen ODAG, Diplom-Psychologin und Research Associate in the Humanities and Social Sciences an der International University Bremen. Aktuelle Forschungsschwerpunkte: Medienpsychologie, Rezeptionsforschung, Empirische Literaturwissenschaft.

Norbert Groeben, Universität zu Köln

Norbert GROEBEN, Prof. Dr., Prof. für Allgemeine Psychologie und Kultupsychologie, Universität zu Köln; Hon. Prof. für Allgemeine Literaturwissenschaft, Universität Mannheim. Aktuelle Forschungsschwerpunkte: Medien-, Sprach-, Denkpsychologie; Wissenschaftstheorie, Methodologie, Anthropologie; Empirische Literaturwissenschaft.



How to Cite

Schreier, M., Odag, Özen, & Groeben, N. (2004). The Third Gulf War: Perceived Credibility of the Media Coverage. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 5(2).

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