Perceived Levels of Trust, Efficiency and Overall Attitudes toward Institutions

Writing a seminar paper

Introduction
This booklet is intended to help students write research seminar papers in education and the social sciences. It does not include any advice about other stages of research, such as the choice of a research question, planning the research methods, or gathering and analyzing data. It is simply a description of the accepted elements of a seminar paper and guidelines for writing one. You may consider writing the paper a burdensome task, but you should keep in mind that if you do not attract readers’ attention to your findings and do not describe them clearly, then all the work you invested in the earlier stages of the research may well be wasted.
This booklet is meant to be a guide rather than a set of obligatory instructions. First, it describes the prevalent type of paper written by researchers, but not everyone uses it all the time. Nevertheless, even though there may sometimes be good reasons for avoiding the traditional guidelines, authors who use them will write properly designed papers. Second, the booklet provides guidelines for the paper’s form, not its contents. Although a properly written paper can enhance the value of a well-reasoned and well-conducted study, it cannot save unjustified or improperly conducted research. On the contrary, a well-written paper will highlight the emptiness of the content and the negligence in the conduction of the study. The booklet does not provide a representative sample of various methodologies.  It is particularly suitable for writing papers in education and the social sciences.

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Studies conducted by college students for a seminar paper are not merely exercises. If you gather data about an interesting issue in a well-designed study, the paper might be publishable, or the study might become part of a planned research design that will motivate you to continue in this direction. Therefore you should write the paper as if it were intended for publication in a respected academic journal.
Acceptable research papers form a particular genre – they obey the rules of organization and writing. These rules guide the readers’ expectation in a particular channel. The readers expect to find details of the research questions, the method used to answer these questions, the findings and a discussion of their significance. Thus such papers are composed of four main parts: the introduction, the method, the results and the discussion. Some papers also add a summary. There are also tables in many papers. All papers that mention other papers list these papers in a bibliography. Some papers also include appendices. In general, these components appear in the order listed here. I will first discuss each of the components separately and then citations and style, which apply to the paper as a whole. A summary of the guidelines appears at the end of the booklet.
Introduction
The introduction does three things:  (1) It gives a clear statement of the research question;  (2) it shows us why the problem is interesting; (3) it places the research question within the context of known research on the topic (literature survey).
The introduction presents the research question and justifies it. You must explain what you wanted to learn from the research and why.
Presenting the question
It is generally easiest to present the research topic as a question, but it is not essential. Here are some examples of how to present a research topic:

  1. “The present study was conducted to answer the following questions: 1) How much do Israelis understand the news on the radio? (2) How familiar are they with the background assumed by the broadcast? (3) What is the relation between people’s understanding of the news and their knowledge of the background?”
  2. “The present paper summarizes a study that was conducted among English speakers who immigrated to Israel as adults and have been in Israel for at least ten years to find out how proficient they are in Hebrew.”
  3. “If elementary school teachers have mainly middle-class students, do they have different expectations of their lower-class students than teachers with mainly lower-class students? The present study was conducted to answer this question.”
  4. “In what situations do citizens who consider themselves law-abiding feel they have the right to violate the law?  Is there a difference between the violation of laws as a public reaction to the acts of state authorities and as a reaction to another person’s acts?.This study explores the relationship of personal beliefs and attitudes toward the law with the sense of entitlement to violate state laws as a public or private reaction” (Rattner, Yagil and Sherman-Segal 2003).
  5. What approach to the nature of attitudes is most useful in measuring differences in attitudes between groups: the means-end approach or the approach that is based on the cognitive, affective and conative components of attitudes.

You do not have to start the paper with the research question. Another way to start the paper is by making a general statement about a phenomenon of interest, as a way of grabbing the reader’s attention.  However, the object of the specific research, i.e., the question that you are asking, should be brought up by the second paragraph.
 
 
Justifying the question
One important goal of the introduction is to gain and keep the reader’s interest. Readers have many other things they could read or do. Why should they read this particular paper? Readers (including editors) want to read a paper if they think the answers to the question presented in the study will help them understand theoretical issues in a new way or will help them solve practical problems. Therefore you must list the theoretical or practical fields that the research question is related to.
The research question can involve a theoretical issue in several different ways. One way is that the answer to the question would help us decide between two rival theories. For example, there are two rival theories about the association between inter-class differences in the use of language and students’ success in school. One view is that children of lower-class parents have a linguistic deficit, which makes it more difficult for them to think abstractly. The other theory claims that the differences in manners of speaking among people of different socioeconomic classes do indeed lead to a lack of fit between the type of speech lower-class children use at home and the type of speech used at school, but these difference do not make it difficult for the children to think abstractly.  A study comparing the ability of children from  different socioeconomic classes to perform tasks requiring abstract thinking, but independent – or almost independent – of material taught in school – for example, giving instructions to pedestrians, could help us decide which of these two approaches is correct.
The research question can also involve the generalizability of a conclusion from a previous study. For example, Bryant, Comisky & Zillmann, 1979 (cited by Rubin & McNeil, 1988:150) found that American university lecturers’ use of humor pertaining to the subject of the course helps the students learn the material, while humor that is irrelevant to the subject makes it more difficult for the students to learn the material. A similar study in Israeli universities could test the generalizability of Bryant et al.’s findings.
Not all theoretically interesting questions are connected to an already existing theory or the generalizability of such a theory. Descriptive research can improve our understanding of a phenomenon and help us formulate new theories to be tested in studies designed for this purpose. For example, we do not have a theory explaining the spread of a language, and there are very few analyses of this phenomenon.  A description of how Arab youngsters in a town in northern Israel learn Hebrew, which can tell us which of them have acquired proficiency in Hebrew, and when, where, how and why they accomplished this, could contribute to our understanding of the phenomenon of language spread.
Some studies of theoretical interest suggest immediate applications, while others do not. For example, the hypothesis that children with a lower socioeconomic background lack verbal proficiency suggests the idea of programs for enriching the verbal environment of these children at preschool ages, while the rival hypothesis that suggests that teachers should be taught the differences in language styles in different socioeconomic groups. But it is not only an association with a theory that makes research interesting. Some studies are interesting because they involve practical problems. For example, hundreds of 18-year-old Israelis are functionally illiterate at the time that they are inducted into the army. Why is this the case? Studies that reveal the causes of this situation could help us increase the number of literate individuals. Another example is the fact that, on average, Jewish Israelis have difficulty learning Arabic. Why should this be? Studies that discover the reasons could help us enhance Jewish Israelis’ performance in learning Arabic.

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One could argue that there is very little theoretical research in education and the social sciences that has no practical application and very little practical research that does not increase our understanding of basic phenomena. Nevertheless, if a study has both theoretical and practical interest, this is all to the good. If, however, you are more interested in one aspect than the other, the readers should be told which of these aspects motivated you to perform the study.
You must convince the readers that the research deals with a question whose answer is not obvious. For example, readers would not understand the point of asking if there is a connection between social class and reading comprehension, since this connection is well-known. To provide evidence that the answer to question motivating the research is not obvious, you must show how the present study is different from previous ones. Does this study investigate variables that were neglected by other studies? Does it investigate a hypothesis or generalization that were suggested by other studies? Does it describe a phenomenon that has hardly been studied? Does it correct a flaw in the research methods used in previous studies?
           Literature survey:
You do not need to present an exhaustive review of the literature to show readers how your study is different from previous ones. Here is a hypothetical example: “While the association between language attitudes and acquiring a second language has been studied extensively (see, e.g., the reviews by Cooper & Fishman 1974 and Reves 1983), most studies have focused on acquiring language that were taught in school. In Israel these studies have focused mainly on acquiring English (see, e.g., Cooper & Fishman 1977). A noteworthy exception is Reves’ 1983 study, which focused partly on the acquisition of spoken Hebrew by Arabic-speaking high-school students in Jaffa, where they heard spoken Hebrew mainly outside of school. The present study extends Reves’s research by investigating the acquisition of spoken Hebrews among Arabic-speaking workers who reside in the occupied territories, which has generally taken place in informal settings.”
In sum, you have justify your research. You can do it by briefly connecting your study to previous ones and showing that the answer to the research question will help fill a gap in the literature. Obviously it will be easier to convince the readers of this if the studies you cite are up to date. You should avoid mentioning researchers in general (“Studies have shown that…”) to support your claim. You have to cite specific studies or reviews.
If your research was done within a particular theoretical paradigm, tradition or school, such as dependency theory, functionalism, symbolic interactionism, or behavior modification, you have to mention this and briefly discuss the assumptions connected with your study. This will help readers understand the viewpoint used in your study and place it within a broader context. For example, “The present study is based on an assumption of dependency, which claims that less-developed nations are not backward, but are merely less developed than they might have been if they had been part of the industrialized world. See discussions of dependency theory in Etzioni-Halevy (1981) and Foster-Carter (1985).”
Structure of the Introduction
How should the Introduction be organized? One way is to begin with the research question and then present its theoretical and practical background, including previous studies. In this case, if the Introduction is sufficiently long, you should repeat the research question at the end of it, so as to prepare the readers to read the description of the method used in the study, which is presented after the Introduction.
Another way is to begin with the background material and end with the research question. The advantage of this technique is that you do not have to repeat the question, as the background material leads the readers naturally to the research question. The question should appear inevitable, and the readers should be able to guess it from the background material.
One of the most common ways of presenting the background material (literature survey) is going from the general to the specific.  It is often useful to divide the literature survey into sections, each focusing on a specific aspect of the research question.  Make sure that your survey has presented the theories and research that provide the basis for the independent variables you have chosen to study in your research.
The background material must be pertinent to the research question, and you must tell the readers only what they need to know to understand this question and its theoretical or practical implications. This means that when you cite another researcher’s findings or views, you should mention only what is directly relevant to your study. I suggest that the Introduction and Literature Survey should not take up more than 25% of the entire paper (not including tables, bibliography or appendices). Readers will not object to a short Introduction that includes all the necessary material.
Hypotheses:  The hypotheses are usually presented at the end of the literature survey, although in some cases, they may be presented in the context of the literature survey.  In both cases, the hypotheses should be anticipated, based on the research questions and the literature survey.
Hypotheses are not predictions of future findings.  (i.e.,Israelis will be willing to flout the law).  They are testable statements of anticipated relationships between variables.   (i.e., Israelis who live in closed communities will be more likely to flout the law than those living in large cities).
Method
The Method section explains what you did to answer the research question. You must present the method in sufficient detail to allow the readers to judge whether it fits the question and to replicate the study. The following elements should be present in the Method section.
Population and sample
A sample, however it is chosen, is a subset of a particular population. Examples of populations are all Jewish Israeli women who are college graduates and have children of preschool age; all “help wanted” ads published in a given newspaper in 1988; all immigrants who arrived in Israel as adults at least ten years previously. When your research is based on a sample, you have to tell the readers (1) which population your sample has been chosen to represent; (2) what method you used to choose the sample; (3) how large the sample is; and (4) what are the properties of the sample that are relevant to the research question.
Let us say that you are interested in the population of all Russian immigrants to Israel who are college graduates, arrived in Israel as adults and have been in Israel for at least ten years. Moreover, you interviewed 25 people who fit this definition. How did you choose this sample? Did you interview everyone you know in this population (a technique that does not necessarily lead to biased results)? Did you interview all the immigrants in this population who live in one particular apartment building? Did you interview one person you know, and ask this person to bring someone else in this population, and so on? Whatever method you used, you have to specify it.
Many students mistakenly believe that a partly random sampling method will lead to a random sample. In fact, a random sample is one in which every individual in the population has the same probability of being chosen. In any case, you can’t just state that the sample is random. You have to describe what you did to come close to randomness (such as applying a random number table to the full list of the target population).
In addition, you have to report the size of the sample. Moreover, you must describe its composition according to properties that are connected with the study, but are not the actual topic of the study. In the above example, if the aim of the study is to determine to what extent the target population has acquired various skills in Hebrew, what properties of the sample are likely to be associated with acquiring mastery of Hebrew? Some of these properties are probably the individual’s age at the time of immigration, gender, number of years in Israel, and whether the individual works outside the home and, if so, at what type of job. Even though you did not know these facts before you started the interviews, it is important to report them in the Method section rather than Results section, because they are likely to have affected the results and so the readers must keep them in mind when they consider the reported results. In general, it is enough to present the range and measure of central tendency (mean or median) of properties of this sort, although it is sometimes worth reporting the number and/or percentage of respondents in a specific category.
Here is a hypothetical example of how to describe the composition of a sample: “The respondents were 35 years old on average when they arrived in Israel. All except six arrived in their thirties or forties, with an age range of  24 to 62. They arrived between 1970 and 1979, and had been living in Israel for an average of 15 years at the time of the study. All the men in the sample (14), except for the two oldest, found jobs during their first year in Israel. Three of them retired after four or five years, so that only nine of the men were working at time of the study. Of the 11 women in the sample, two did not work outside the home, and three others stopped after a few years, so that there were only six women working outside the home at the time of the study. All the respondents who worked outside the home were employees with professional or clerical jobs. The most prevalent jobs were clerk (6), engineer (4) and teacher (3).”
You must preserve the privacy of the respondents unless you have explicit permission from them to reveal their names. You must not present any data – either in the body of the paper or in the appendices – that might reveal their identity. Even when the study is a description of an institution, such as a school or a workplace, you must protect the privacy of the institution unless you have been given permission to reveal its identity.
Instruments and procedures for gathering data

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Readers expect a description of the instruments you used for gathering your data, such as tests, interviews, questionnaires, observations by a participant or non-participant observer, analysis of the data, and the like. If you have data about the reliability of the method for your chosen target population, you should provide them. If you used a new instrument, you have to describe it in detail. Prevalent instruments can be described in a more general way. Here is an example: “The interviews lasted for about an hour. The respondents were asked to provide demographic information about themselves and then to rate their proficiency in Hebrew in the areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing on a four-point scale (complete mastery, some difficulty, great difficulty, no ability at all). They were also asked whether their mastery in each of these areas were still improving, to what extent they needed to know Hebrew at their jobs, and what helped them most in acquiring each of these skills. The entire list of questions is presented in Appendix A. Finally, the respondents were asked to read silently two editorials that had been published that day in two different newspapers and then answer five oral questions about them. Since the interviews took place over a period of three days, not all the respondents read the same editorials. The editorials that they were asked to read appear in Appendix B, along with the questions they were asked and the correct answer to each one.”
Scoring
If the data being studied were scored, you have describe the scoring method. For example: “The answer to each question was scored as correct or incorrect, and the number of correct answers was counted for each respondent.”
Quantitative data analysis
If the presentation of the data makes use of theoretical statistics (such as frequencies, percentage, average, standard deviations, correlations and the like) or if statistical analyses were performed (such as chi-square tests, t-tests, analysis of variance, multiple regression and the like), you must report this. If you had to choose among different alternatives in the analysis of the data (significance level, the increment beyond which the results of a multi-stage multiple regression analysis are not reported, and the like), you have to report this too. The best place for the description of the statistical analyses you used is at the end of the Method section. This will prepare the reader to analyze the findings.
 
Results
The Results section presents your main findings.  A common error in students’ paper is presenting the findings only in tables, without a verbal description of the material. Going to the opposite extreme is also an error, as it is redundant to detail all the numbers in the tables in the body of the paper. A professional paper summarizes the main results of each table in the body of the paper.
It is generally easier for readers to understand expressions such as “hardly anyone”, “about half”, or “almost everyone” than precise numbers such as 2%, 53% or 96%. Moreover, since readers are rarely interested in precise statistical findings, it is best to present the results in general terms. Anyone who is interested in the precise numbers can find them in the tables. This does not mean that you should never present precise numbers in the body of the paper, but you should not use too many of them.
When authors describe a sequence of statistical data of the same type, such as correlations or percentages, they often mention only the range and the central value. Here are some examples: (1) “The 15 coefficients, which were all positive, ranged from .30 to .67, with a median of .52”;  (2) “The average score on the ten subtests ranged from 60% to 85% correct, with a mean of 70%”; (3) The highest the respondents rated themselves was on the four-point scale in the mastery of speaking (with a mean of 3.4) and lowest was in mastery of writing (1.9).”
Each table you present has to be described in the body of the paper. The reader must be able to understand the main findings in the table according to its verbal description without looking at the table. The tables should be numbered in order of their appearance in the paper. Each table should have a title.
Some authors present the results in the order of the categories that were described in the Method section. In our hypothetical example of a study of Russian immigrants, you may choose to first present the results according to the each of the categories of skill in Hebrew. If you choose this method, you must name the categories – for example, understanding spoken Hebrew, speaking Hebrew, reading Hebrew, and writing in Hebrew. You should not merely number the categories as Skill 1, Skill 2, etc. You cannot reasonably expect the readers to remember what the numbers refer to.
Researchers usually offer interpretations for their findings. For example, they may compare them with the findings of others and suggest explanations for the differences between them. They may also suggest explanations for unexpected findings. Such comments are often found in the Discussion section, but they can also be made in the Results section. I think that it is generally better to offer such comments in the Results section. We make it easier for the reader when we present a result and a comment on that result at the same time. If you write the comment in the Discussion section, then you have to repeat the result, which is inefficient, or take the risk that the reader may already have forgotten it.
Here is an example of a description of a single table from Spolsky and Cooper’s (1991) about Hebrew knowledge among different groups in Jerusalem’s old city:
“Table 1 summarizes self-reports about the interrelationship between various factors and knowledge of Hebrew among the Arab respondents who were interviewed. The table shows that about a third of the respondents claim that they can speak Hebrew, but only about 10% claim that they can read it. One explanation for this difference is that spoken Hebrew is more practically useful; another is that it is easier to acquire spoken Hebrew informally, outside of school, while learning to read Hebrew is more dependent on formal teaching. Many of the Arabs in the old city attended schools where Hebrew was not taught, so they did not have much opportunity to learn to read the language. The table also shows that the proportion of Arabs working outside the home who claimed to know Hebrew was greater than the proportion of those who did not work outside the home. Interestingly, those who worked as teachers and in other academic professions claimed to know less Hebrew than the other workers. Apparently, although the workers in the other occupations had less formal schooling, their work brought them into more regular contact with Hebrew speakers, and about half of them claimed that they could speak Hebrew. Not surprisingly, those Arabs who worked as clerks were most likely to claim that they could read and write Hebrew. Thus the data in the table are consistent with the hypothesis that work contacts and incentives encourage the acquisition of Hebrew.”
Table 1
Knowledge of Hebrew among Palestinians over the age of 16
(Spolsky and Cooper, 1991)

Occupation Hebrew Speakers    Hebrew Readers N
% N % N
Does not work outside the home (except for university students) 14.3 62 3.7 16 434
University students 28.5 39 9.5 13 137
Teachers and academics 37.1 46 17.7 22 124
Managers and clerks 53.8 28 28.8 15 52
Sales and service people 57.1 72 13.5 17 126
Professionals and semiprofessionals 50.0 28 8.9    5 55
 Non-professional workers 45.1 46 8.8    9 102
Total 31.2 321 9.4 97 1208

 

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You have to make sure that the material in the table is consistent with the verbal description in the body of the paper. It is amazing how often there are gaps between what is presented in tables and the verbal description, even in published papers. If readers actually take the trouble to compare the two and discover that the verbal description does not match the data in the table, they are unlikely to trust anything else that is reported in the paper.
Three common errors in data presentation are (1) confusion between practical significance and statistical significance; (2) highlighting differences that are liable to be due to chance; and (3) mistaking correlation for causation.
Not all differences have theoretical or practical implications. In a large enough sample even very small differences are likely to be statistically significant, i.e., not due to chance. At any rate, you must ask yourself if a particular difference is practically or theoretically important. Although a difference of 2% may be decisive in an election, a statistical difference of 2% between the average scores on a test of oral comprehension and those on a test of reading comprehension indicates only that the responders’ performances are very similar; it has no practical implications and cannot shed light on any theoretical issue. Finally, a correlation between two variables is necessary but not sufficient for causation. Two variables, A and B, can be correlated because A is the cause of B, or because B is the cause of A, or because A and B influence each other, or because a third variable, C, is the cause of both.
The discussion section
If it is preferable to interpret the findings in the results section rather than the discussion section, what is left to write about in the latter? The most common topics of this section are (1) the validity and generalizability of the findings; (2) their practical or theoretical implications; and (3) suggestions for future research.
The validity of your findings is the degree to which they reflect what you intended to measure. In the hypothetical example of the study of Russian immigrants’ acquisition of Hebrew, one might ask how truthful the respondents were in reporting their mastery of Hebrew. If they were willing and able to assess themselves honestly, then their answers are valid.  If they distorted the facts out of lack of ability to assess themselves or unwillingness to report the truth, then their answers are not valid. Similarly, one could ask whether the test of reading newspaper editorials reflected their intelligence rather than, or in addition to, their reading comprehension. There is no one perfect method for attaining a given goal, but the method used can be good enough for this purpose. Validity is a relative issue. You have to discuss the validity of your findings if you believe that they are problematic.
The more people, groups and settings there are to which you can apply your findings, the greater their generalizability. How far do you believe your findings apply to the entire population from which you chose your sample? And can you apply the findings beyond this population as well?
You should discuss the possibility that your findings can be applied not only to the population from which you took your sample, but also to a larger population of which it is a subset or even to other populations entirely. For example, is it likely that some of the findings about the prevalence of Hebrew knowledge among Palestinians can be applied to any population that adopts another language for any purpose? If yes, why? If not, why not? The readers of your paper are interested in your views, but they have to be based on logical considerations.
Just as there are no perfectly reliable or valid research methods, there are no perfect studies. You must be very strict with yourself when discussing the limitations of your research. There are always such limitations, and all you have to do is report them. This does not mean that the study has no value.
One particular study is a link in a chain of studies, some of which have already been performed and some of which have yet to be performed. Often the motivation for a particular study is a missing piece in the research literature, and this study can then indicate directions for future research. The answer to one question often leads to other questions. Thus you should recommend the performance of future studies based on the contribution of your own study.
What are the theoretical or practical implications of your findings? For example, the survey mentioned above that interviewed Palestinians in the old city of Jerusalem found that many Palestinians know Hebrew but few Jewish Israelis know Arabic. Moreover, it seems that the Palestinians who knew Hebrew learned in mainly on the job, while few Jews hear Arabic spoken at their place of work. If we could generalize these findings beyond this particular sample and population, we could deduce that financial incentives are important in increasing the spread of a language (which is consistent with the findings of other studies) and that any theory about the spread of languages has to take such incentives into account. It is plausible that one of the reasons Jewish children in Israel generally do not succeed in learning Arabic in school is that they have little incentive to do so. If we really want these children to learn Arabic, we have to give them such incentives. For example, we could decide that Arabic is a compulsory topic in matriculation exams. These are the sorts of theoretical and practical implications that readers of a paper expect to see.
The most common mistakes students make in the Discussion section are (1) repeating the findings that were reported in the Results section without offering an interpretation; (2) presenting new findings that were not reported in the Results section;  and (3) presenting new information about the method that was not reported in the Method section. Obviously you can mention details about the method or the results when you are discussing them in the Discussion section, but you cannot mention details that were not presented earlier in the paper.
Summary
If your paper is fairly long (more than 25 pages, not including tables, bibliography and appendices), then you should add a summary. This section presents the main research questions, reviews the method, and presents the main findings. No new material should be presented in the summary, which should be as short as possible.
Tables
The tables should be numbered in the order in which their contents appear in the text. They should appear close to the place where they are discussed, so that the reader can easily look at the tables when they are reading the paper.  OUTPUT OF SPSS OR OTHER STATISTICAL PROGRAMS IS NOT A TABLE.  Tables are constructed from the information in the output.
Just as readers should be able to understand each table according to its description in the body of the paper, without looking at the table itself, they should also be able to get the gist of the material in the table without looking at the verbal description in the text. Tables should be presented in a way that is easy to understand. Here are some suggestions for achieving this goal:

  • Each table should be given a title that explains its contents.
  • Each row and column in the should be given a descriptive title.
  • The relationship between the variables in the table should be reflected in the spatial organization of the table. For example, in Table 1, the titles Occupation, N, Speaks Hebrew, and Reads Hebrew should all be on the same level to denote the fact that these variables have the same status. Similarly, No. and % are printed at the same level under the title Speaks Hebrew to denote that they have the same status and are subordinate to the linguistic ability.
  • The columns that describe connected subcategories of the same variable should be closer to each other than the columns that represent sub-categories of different variables. For example, in Table 1 the distance between the two columns under Speaks Hebrew is less than that between these two columns and other columns in the table.
  • The distance between the total and its components should be greater than that between one component and the next. In Table 1, for example, the distance between the different occupational categories is less than that between the last occupation listed and the total.
  • Symbols should not be repeated in the body of a table. For example, if you present a column of percentages, the percent symbol should appear at the top of the column and should not be repeated within the column.
  • You should report percentages only place after the decimal point and correlation coefficients to only two places after it. Our research methods are not exact enough to warrant greater precision, and it would be difficult for readers to grasp it in any case.
  • The same number of places after the decimal point should be used throughout the table.
  • The decimal points should be aligned throughout the table, therefore:

60.1                        NOT        60.1
8.2                                            8.2
.3                                           .3
 

  • A table should not be much longer than it is wide or vice versa.
  • For every variable you should note the number of respondents who did not answer the question or for whom data could not be found.
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  • Indicate significant relationships with a * and give the significance data in a footnote below the table.

In addition to making the tables as clear as possible, you need to ensure consistency within and among the tables. If, for example, a table presents the distribution of workers’ ages and occupations, there must be an equal number of workers in the Age and Occupation columns.  If for some reason there is data missing about the age or occupation of some of the respondents, this should be indicated.
Finally, you should not present the percentages of the two parts of a dichotomous variable. For example, if you state that 65% of the participants are female, it is pointless to add that 35% are male.
Bibliography
The bibliography should include all and only the citations mentioned in the text. In other words, every reference mentioned in the text must appear in the bibliography and every item in the bibliography must appear in the body of the paper. When you cite a reference that appears in a different source, such as “Bryant, Comisky and Zillman, 1979, as cited by Rubin and McNeill, 1985,” both of these references should appear in the bibliography.
The bibliography must be ordered alphabetically according to the last name of the first author of each item cited. When more than one paper by the same author is cited, they should be ordered chronologically, with the earliest paper appearing first.
Each item must include enough information for the reader to be able to find it easily. In general, this includes the first and last names of the author (although in the APA format, only the initial of the first name appears, along with the initial of the middle name, if any); the date of publication; the name of the article or book; in the case of an article, the name of the book or journal it appears in, along with the volume number and pages;  in the case of a book, the place of publication and the name of the publisher. If an article appears in an edited volume, you should mention the names of the editors, the place of publication and the name of the publisher. An example of a correctly ordered bibliography can be found in the bibliography at the end of this booklet.
There are many accepted ways of compiling a bibliography, but once you have chosen one, you have to use it consistently. If an author decides to send a paper to a particular journal, it is obligatory to use the version recommended by that journal.
Finally, you have to check that the spelling and the dates in the bibliography are identical to those in the text.
Appendices
Appendices include material such as a complete (blank) questionnaire or interview format, details of a test, other data that are mentioned in the text but not described there, and examples of answers. Each appendix has to be mentioned in the text. For example, “The complete questionnaire appears in Appendix A.” While the tables are numbered, the appendices are identified by letters. The appendices are presented in the order that they are mentioned in the text. A title describing the appendix should appear at the top.
Citations
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Endnotes (if any)
Bibliography
Appendices
 

English-Speaking Olim’s View of Public Institutions in Israel
    

 
 
 

Table of Contents
 
Abstract. 1
Introduction. 2
Literature Survey. 3
Level of Trust. 3
Level of Trust and Knowledge Level 6
Level of Trust and Knowledge Level in Israel 9
Summary. 11
Method. 12
Results. 15
General Overview of Data. 15
Knowledge Level of Legislative Process and Public Institutions. 18
Perceived Levels of Trust, Efficiency and Overall Attitudes toward Institutions. 18
Tenure in Israel, Age and Education Level of Olim and their Knowledge Level, Levels of Trust,   and Overall Attitudes toward Institutions. 22
Discussion and Conclusion. 26
Bibliography. 31
Appendix A.. 34

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Abstract

This study examined the knowledge levels and attitudes of English-speaking Olim currently living in Israel with regard to five public institutions that play a big part in the functionality of Israeli society and its legislative process – the President, the Prime Minister, the Knesset, the Supreme Court, and the State Comptroller. The Olim (N = 95) were asked a number of attitudinal and general knowledge questions about the institutions in order to answer the following four questions: What are the knowledge levels of Olim regarding the legislative process and public institutions? What are their perceived levels of trust and efficiency and overall attitudes toward the institutions? Is there a relationship between their level of knowledge and their attitude towards institutions? Is there a relationship between length of tenure, age and education level of Olim and their level of knowledge, trust, and overall attitude toward the institutions? Among other findings, we found that Olim’s knowledge of the legislative process is related to their knowledge of the institutions, that their perceived knowledge is related to their perceived level of trust and efficiency of the institutions, and that their length of tenure in Israel, their age and their education level are indeed related to their perceived level of knowledge of the legislative process in Israel as well as their actual knowledge level of the institutions. These findings are discussed in relation to theories of institutional trust, political and governmental trust and institutional knowledge.
 
 

Introduction

According to the Jewish Agency and Ministry of Immigration in Israel, there continues to be a constant rise in Aliyah every year (with the arrival of 19,200 new Olim to Israel in 2013 alone) (Jerusalem Post, December 29, 2013). Those Olim, and the many Olim who have immigrated to Israel in years past, have often chosen to leave behind the comfort of their previous home to live in a new country with a society structured unlike the one they may have been accustomed to previously. Having chosen to immigrate to Israel, how much do the Olim actually know about the structure of Israeli society and what are their attitudes toward the society in which they have chosen to settle in by making Aliyah?
The present study was conducted in order to answer the following four questions. (1) Among English-speaking Olim currently living in Israel, what are their levels of knowledge of the legislative process in Israel and what are their levels of knowledge of the President, the Prime Minister, the Knesset, the Supreme Court, and the State Comptroller, five public institutions that make up the three branches of government and are intrinsically connected to the functionality of Israel’s legislative process?
According to the Israeli Democracy Index 2013, a public opinion study done annually by The Israel Democracy Institute, the majority of Israelis feel that politicians in Israel are more concerned with themselves than the public. At the same time, there has been a more positive assessment recently with regard to the performance of Israeli politicians as well as a belief that Knesset members are working hard and doing a good job in their position in the Knesset. However, they also found less public trust among respondents in most of the state and political institutions (that they studied) than in previous years (Hermann, Heller, Atmor, & Lebel, 2013). Thus, two other questions to be considered in the present study are: (2) What are the Olim’s perceived levels of trust and efficiency regarding each of the institutions of the President, the Prime Minister, the Knesset, the Supreme Court, and the State Comptroller? (3) Is there a relation between the Olim’s knowledge of the various governmental institutions and their overall attitudes toward the five different public institutions listed above?
Research done by Alesina and La Ferrara (2002, 223) of people’s trust in others found that “an individual who has not been living in the current place of residence for long may be less inclined to trust others, because he or she may not know other people enough.” The same can be applied to Olim who enter a new country and a new society. Therefore, this study also examines (4) the relationship between the length of time Olim have lived in Israel, their age, and their education levels and their levels of knowledge of the institutions, levels of trust and overall attitudes toward those institutions that play an integral part in the functionality of the State and Israeli society – the President, the Prime Minister, the Knesset, the Supreme Court, and the State Comptroller.

Literature Survey

Level of Trust

Trust has been defined as the belief of an individual that the subject of trust will act in a way that is favorable to the individual or, at the very least, in a manner that will not be detrimental to the individual (Gambetta 1998 in Lapidot, Kark, and Shamir 2007). There have been numerous studies done on the idea of general trust (Alesina and La Ferrara 2002), trust in leadership (Lapidot, Kark, and Shamir 2007; Burke, Sims, Lazzara, and Salas 2007), and political, governmental, and institutional trust (Mishler and Rose 1997; Zussman 1997; Mishler and Rose 2001).
In one study, there are two explanations as to what causes one person to trust another person: 1) a person more easily trusts other people who are similar to them or their family, either racially, ethically or socially and 2) it is easier for a person to trust someone with whom he or she has had a longer interaction with (Alesina and La Ferrara 2002). For example, a person who has lived together in a community for a long time will more likely trust others; on the other hand, an individual who has recently moved into a new community or society may be less inclined to trust the new group of people living around him.
A person’s willingness to trust a leader of any sort stems from the leader’s ability to indicate integrity, kindness, and overall ability in his or her behaviors (Lapidot, Kark, and Shamir 2007). Although no government enjoys the complete trust of its citizens, it is imperative for there to be some sort of a level of trust for the government to function (Mishler and Rose 1997). As Gamson (1968, 42 in Mishler and Rose 1997) explains, “trust is important…because it serves as the ‘creator of collective power’ enabling government to make decisions and commit resources without having to resort to coercion or obtain the specific approval of citizens for every decision.” Gamson further believes that when a government has a high level of public trust, it can make new commitments to its citizens, thus increasing support and, in effect, creating a positive cycle of increasing public trust. On the contrary, when public trust in a government is low, the government can no longer govern efficiently, causing public trust in the government to be further damaged, causing a cycle of decreasing trust (Mishler and Rose 1997).
Obviously the issue of trust is a crucial issue for citizens in all countries, according to Zussman (1997). If there is a lack of public trust in politicians and public institutions, it indicates that the current institution or politician is regarded as being unfit to respond positively to the ever-changing needs and interests of a country’s citizens. On the other hand, if citizens reveal a level of confidence in the efficiency of the government and its institutions, a level of governmental legitimacy is indicated as long as the level of confidence remains high. However, when the government fails and become less efficient in the eyes of its citizens, the citizens’ level of confidence and “the trust and esteem [they] have for their government institutions…begins to decline” (Zussman 1997, 236).
One thing that is essential to the establishment of a civil society and its institutions is trust. According to Mishler and Rose (1997, 420), “popular trust in government may be inherited [in the short term]. In the longer term, however, trust must be earned; it must be performance based.” Some institutional theories hold that public trust in institutions is based on the citizen’s evaluation of the institution’s performance, as opposed to “political trust [which] is endogenous” (Przeworski, Alvarez, Cheibab & Limongi, 1996 in Mishler and Rose 2001, 36). Other institutional theories, meanwhile, emphasize economic performance as an indicator of the level of public trust and believe that “institutions are trusted or distrusted to the extent that they produce desired economic outcomes” (Mishler and Rose 2001, 36). Mishler and Rose (1997) caution, though, that because evidence shows that trust in public institutions is partly contingent on economic performance, the attitudes of the public are often likely to be unstable.

Level of Trust and Knowledge Level

There have been two major studies done on the level of knowledge of citizens and its relationship to public institutions; the purpose of both studies, however, was to investigate the relationship between the level of knowledge of citizens and one specific public institution of importance, the US Supreme Court (Gibson and Caldeira 2009; Gibson and Caldeira 2011). The methods of those two studies by Gibson and Caldeira formed the basis for the present study which aims to look at the relationships between the level of knowledge of Olim and five public institutions – the President, the Prime Minister, the Knesset, the Supreme Court, and the State Comptroller.
In their second study, Gibson and Caldeira (2011) considered four main questions, one of which was the question of whether knowledge increases institutional support. Previous research, on which they based their study, accepted the idea that “to know more about the courts is to hold them in higher esteem” (Gibson and Caldeira 2009, 198) and according to Gibson, Caldeira, and Baird (1998), this idea actually holds true in many parts of the world. Few courts in the world, according to Gibson and Caldeira (2011), have built up as much institutional support as the Supreme Court has. However, with that stated, not all institutions in the United States have the same level of support and approval from citizens across the country.
A considerable amount of research “indicates that greater knowledge of judicial institutions is associated with a willingness to ascribe greater institutional legitimacy” to these institutions (Gibson and Caldeira 2009, 200-201). Furthermore, in their study of the legitimacy of national high courts, Gibson, Caldeira, and Baird (1998) found that the most knowledgeable citizens are most likely to show support for their high court. This was confirmed by Gibson and Caldeira (2011) as they found a statistically significant connection between people’s knowledge level and support of public institutions.
The positivity theory, which Gibson and Caldeira formulated with regard to the US Supreme Court, posits that “those who know more about the Supreme Court should be distinctive in the views they hold about courts and judges” (Gibson and Caldeira 2009, 430). From this theory, it is argued that those people who are more knowledgeable about the Supreme Court are more supportive of the institution as a whole, thus creating the “positivity bias,” which described succinctly means “to know it is to love it” (Gibson and Caldeira 2009, 437). In the case of the Supreme Court positivity bias, Gibson and Caldeira (2009) claim it works as follows: while paying attention to the Supreme Court, one gains more knowledge about the Court, and is subsequently exposed to the powerful symbols of the institution, thus leading to an increased knowledge level and, as a result, increased support for the Court.
In their 2009 study, Gibson and Caldeira investigated two additional aspects of the relationship between citizen’s knowledge of the courts and their trust in political institutions. They found that when people are asked relatively logical and easy questions about the Supreme Court, they seem to demonstrate a high level of knowledge about the Supreme Court. They also found that a person’s level of knowledge of the Supreme Court had an important impact on their attitudes toward other courts and political institutions. Thus they concluded that “to know more about courts may not always be to love them, but to know them is to learn and think that they are different from other political institutions” (Gibson and Caldeira 2009, 439).
Furthermore, previous studies of public awareness of Court decisions “established that [knowledge of] Supreme Court decisions can influence the public consciousness” (Franklin, Kosaki, and Kritzer 1993; Franklin and Kosaki 1995 in Scott and Saunders 2006). However, in the study done by Scott (2006), it was found that within the time span of his study of the awareness of Supreme Court decisions, there were some Presidential events which showed about a half to two thirds more public awareness than even some of the more recognized court decisions at the time.
As Zussman (1997, 251) pointed out (in a study of trust in Canada’s government), one possible reason for the lower levels of public confidence and trust in political leaders and the government may be “due to the fact that citizens are better educated than in the past [and they] know much more about our political leaders, what they believe in and what they have promised to accomplish if we voted for them.” This supports the argument that the lower level of confidence and trust in public institutions is more a result of the higher level of knowledge among citizens than as a result of a poor level of government efficiency.
Conversely, in a more recent study of citizens’ overall knowledge about politics in America, which included over 50 years of survey research on the political knowledge of American citizens, Carpini (2005, 27-28) reached the conclusion that “the average citizen is woefully uniformed about political institutions and processes…and important political actors such as elected officials and political parties.” This, on the other hand, argues that because of an extremely low level of knowledge among citizens regarding public institutions, a higher level of confidence and trust in public institutions among citizens may be present as a result.

Level of Trust and Knowledge Level in Israel

Many studies have looked at the importance of trust in governments and institutions in democratic countries. According to Bianco (1994 in Mishler and Rose 2001, 30), “trust is critical to democracy, [as it] links ordinary citizens to the institutions that are intended to represent them.” Zussman (1997) points out an interesting paradox that occurs in democratic countries:
Recent history suggests that when large numbers of citizens become dissatisfied with the workings of their government, the more they call for more democracy. The more they call for more democracy, the more of it they get. The more of it they get, the more dissatisfied they become with the workings of their government. The more they become dissatisfied with the workings of their government, the more they call for democracy. The cycle endlessly repeats itself (Zussman 1997, 251).
In one study (Mishler and Rose 1997), data is brought from the New Democracies Barometer which asked respondents (on a scale of 1 to 7) to indicate their level of trust in fifteen political and civil institutions. The President (mean of 4.0) was found to be one of only three institutions to have a positive overall level of trust and public confidence. Unlike the President, the courts [though not exclusively the Supreme Court] scored only about an average trust level among respondents.
A number of studies have looked at public institutions in Israel such as the courts (Barzilai 1998), the Knesset and the Prime Minister (Hazan and Rahat 2000), and the numerous public institutions in the annual Israel Democracy Index (Hermann, Heller, Atmor, and Lebel 2013). As Barzilai (1998, 18-19) explained, all of Israel’s institutions have democratic fundamentals, including the Supreme Court which has functioned democratically since Israel’s inception in 1948, and “its cultural setting is marked by a relatively high trust in its democratic institutions.” Furthermore, even without a formal constitution in existence in Israel, the appointed judges have known that it is their duty to protect Israel’s democracy since the founding of the State. Even Israel’s legal system, although it is still relatively new, is one that maintains its democratic makeup (Barak 2002).
As noted previously, the Israeli Democracy Index is published annually in order to assess the condition of Israel’s level of democracy. In the most recent publication in 2013, there was found to be a split opinion among Israelis with regard to their satisfaction with the functionality of Israeli democracy. While most Israelis believe that democratic values in Israel are upheld to ‘a suitable degree’ (with the exception of the right to live with dignity), only about half were satisfied with Israeli democracy (49.7% satisfied, 46.7% dissatisfied) (Hermann, Heller, Atmor, and Lebel 2013).
Other notable findings, which form a basis for comparison and analysis with the results of the present study, included: 1) the divided belief amongst most Israelis that Members of Knesset work hard and do a good job (45.8% believe they are working hard and doing a good job, 48.1% believe they are not); 2) the level of public trust in all state institutions has decreased or, in the case of the Knesset, stayed pretty even in the past year (President of Israel – 78.7%, down from 84.3% in 2012; Supreme Court – 62.7%, down from 72.5%; Knesset – 54.5% up slightly from 52.9%; Prime Minister – 51.7%, down from 61.5%); 3) the level of trust among the Jewish respondents of the survey is higher for the Supreme Court than the Knesset, two of the top institutions of Israeli democracy; 4) the higher the Jewish respondents’ level of education, the greater trust they have in the Supreme Court and the President, but there was no difference in level of education with regard to trust in the Prime Minister and the Knesset; 5) the Supreme Court garners the most positive attitude among those people who identified themselves as center, center-left, and left in contrast with those who identified themselves as right or center-right; the Knesset, meanwhile, was trusted mostly among those labeled as center-left or center, this time in contrast to a very low level of trust from those who identify themselves as left or right (Hermann, Heller, Atmor, and Lebel 2013).

Summary

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Just as every citizen has a different level of trust in the various public institutions, every citizen also has a different level of knowledge regarding these institutions (Gibson and Caldeira 2009; Gibson and Caldeira 2011). What’s more, a person’s knowledge level of an institution may not cause the person to like the institution; however it very often has an impact on the person’s level of trust and overall attitudes toward the institution. In Israel specifically, the level of trust toward the democratic institutions in place has always been relatively high, but at the same time, there is a diverse public opinion in Israel regarding the different important institutions that help the State function properly.
Therefore, on the basis of the existing literature presented, the present study will aim to answer the following four questions: (1) What are the levels of knowledge of the legislative process in Israel among English-speaking Olim in Israel and what are their levels of knowledge of the President, the Prime Minister, the Knesset, the Supreme Court, and the State Comptroller? (2) What are the Olim’s levels of trust and perception of the efficiency of each of the five public institutions? (3) Is there a relationship between the Olim’s knowledge level of the various institutions and their overall attitudes toward the institutions? (4) Is there a relationship between the Olim’s length of tenure in Israel, their age or their education level and their levels of knowledge of the institutions and their levels of trust and overall attitudes toward the five public institutions that play an integral part in the functionality of the State and Israeli society?

Method

The population chosen for the present research study was limited to only people who speak English (though not limited to those people from the United States of America) who have, at some point in their life, immigrated to Israel and are currently residing in the State (Olim). A sample of Olim who fit the qualifications stated above was obtained via an online questionnaire (See Appendix A for the complete questionnaire) which was distributed and circulated solely on the social media website, Facebook. With the help of an assortment of friends and family members, the researcher used the widespread reach of social media in order to share the questionnaire with a variety of Olim through different groups, mass messages, and posts. No private interviews were conducted and no other instruments were used in the gathering of the sample (which was collected between April 3, 2014 and May 13, 2014).
The online questionnaire consisted of 47 questions. The majority of the questions asked the respondents to answer on a 1 to 7 scale (1 being the lowest score, 7 being the highest score). The topics of these questions dealt with the respondents’ subjective assessment of their knowledge of the legislative process, overall trust in public institutions in Israel, perception of the overall efficiency of public institutions in Israel, the role of democracy in Israel, knowledge of each specific institution, trust in each specific institution, efficiency of each specific institution, and subjective rating of each specific institution.
The rest of the questions were multiple choice, yes/no questions, or fill-in questions which were asked in order to test the respondents’ general knowledge level of the President, Prime Minister, Knesset, Supreme Court, and State Comptroller. The sample’s knowledge of these five public institutions was measured by a set of four items each. The items asked a variety of general knowledge questions having to do with each institution. The answer to each multiple choice and fill-in question was scored as correct or incorrect and the number of correct answers was counted for each respondent. Accordingly, an index was created on the basis of the responses to these items, varying from 0 to 4 and subsequently an overall knowledge score was calculated for each respondent (minimum possible of 0 questions correct, maximum of 20 possible questions correct).
The sample consisted of a total of 95 respondents, (56 female, 39 male), ranging in age from 19 to 60, with an average age of just about 27 years old. They immigrated to Israel as early as 1982 and as recently as 2014, with the median year of immigration being 2010. 85 percent of respondents (81 Olim) were originally from the United States of America before immigrating to Israel, while the remaining 15 respondents were from Canada, United Kingdom, Turkey, Russia, Belgium, and Australia.
Very well-represented in the sample were immigrants (Olim) who at the present time of the study were undergraduate students in university (46 percent) or had an undergraduate degree but no further education (27 percent). Regarding the stated political affiliation of the respondents, a vast majority marked themselves as Center-Right (43 percent) or Right (35 percent) on the political spectrum, for a total of 78 percent. When asked which party they would vote for in the next election, the three most popular parties among the Olim were Bayit Yehudi (47 percent), Likud Beiteinu (21 percent), and Yesh Atid (11 percent).
Various descriptive statistics (frequencies, percentages, averages, and correlations) and statistical analyses (t-tests and linear regressions) were used when analyzing the accumulated data in order to test the following hypotheses: 1) Longer-tenured Olim will likely have more knowledge about the legislative process than newer Olim; 2) Olim will likely have more knowledge of Prime Minister, President, and Knesset than of the Supreme Court and State Comptroller; 3) Longer-tenured Olim are more likely to have more trust in the five political institutions than newer Olim; 4) The level of the Olim’s trust in the institutions is related to their knowledge level of the various institutions; 5) The level of the Olim’s trust in Israel as a democracy is related to their level of trust in various institutions.
Other relationships that will be considered over the course of the present study are the relationships between the Olim’s: 1) Perceived knowledge and actual knowledge of the legislative process; 2) Perceived knowledge and level of trust in the institutions; 3) Perceived knowledge and perceived efficiency of the institutions; 4) Level of trust and perceived efficiency of the institutions; 5) Level of trust in Israel as a democracy and level of trust in the institutions; 6) Actual knowledge and level of trust in the institutions; and 7) Actual knowledge and perceived efficiency of the institutions.

Results

General Overview of Data

A general overview of the data collected from the Olim respondents (n = 95) revealed a few interesting findings at first glance. The first two questions of the questionnaire asked the Olim to mark (on a 1 to 7 scale) how much they trust public institutions in Israel and how efficient they believe public institutions are in Israel. Slightly more Olim trust public institutions (38 percent) than those who do not (31 percent); however, the majority of Olim (57 percent) believe that there is a lack of efficiency among public institutions in Israel (See Figure 1).
Additionally, there was a clear positive trend among the Olim’s opinion of Israel as a democracy (not shown). A vast majority of Olim believe that, not only is democracy the best form of government for a country to operate by (83 percent), but Israel is a true democracy (72 percent) and it upholds the four main principles of democracy – freedom of religion, the right to live with dignity, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly (80 percent). However, that being said, only 51 percent of Olim said that they are satisfied with the functionality of democracy in Israel today.
The respondents were also asked to rate what they believe their level of knowledge is regarding the President, Prime Minister, Knesset, Supreme Court, and State Comptroller in Israel (See Figure 2).[1] The Prime Minister was unquestionably the institution which the Olim believe they know the most about (73 percent rated themselves as having an above-average knowledge level), followed by the Knesset (51 percent) and the President which was basically split (40 percent above average and 46 percent below average). Dissimilar to the perceived knowledge level of the above three public institutions, the vast majority of Olim rated themselves as having a below-average knowledge level of the Supreme Court (63 percent rated themselves as having an below-average knowledge level) and the State Comptroller (83 percent).
 
 
 
 
 
As mentioned earlier, each respondent was asked four general knowledge questions with respect to each of the five public institutions being considered in the present study (for a total of 20 questions). As can be seen in Table 1, the scores for all of the institutions were either average or below average.
 
 
 
 
One of the four general knowledge questions for each institution was a question of knowing who holds the position of leadership (i.e. who is the current President or who is the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court), or in the case of the Knesset, knowing what number Knesset was most recently formed and is currently in place in the State (i.e. the 19th Knesset). The result that particularly stood out according to the data for those specific five questions was that every single one of the Olim knew that Binyamin Netanyahu is the current Prime Minister and 94 percent of the respondents knew that Shimon Peres is the current President of Israel. Conversely, only 16 percent and 11 percent of Olim knew who the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (Asher Grunis) and State Comptroller are (Yosef Shapira), respectively (not shown). One possible explanation for this may be the fact that the Supreme Court and State Comptroller are institutions which are in place in order to regulate the law, while the Prime Minister and the President are institutions which are part of the legislative and executive branches of the government.

Knowledge Level of Legislative Process and Public Institutions

A deeper statistical analysis of the accumulated data brought to the surface many strong correlations and interesting relationships. A Pearson’s correlation test was done to see whether the Olim’s perceived knowledge level of the legislative process is related to their actual level of knowledge regarding five major institutions that play a big part in the functionality of the process (See Table 2). A strong relationship was found between their subjective level of knowledge of the legislative process and knowledge level of the institutions (n = 95, r = 0.52, p < 0.01). On the other hand though, the Olim’s perceived knowledge of the legislative process had no relation with their perceived level of trust in the institutions, as well as their perceived level of efficiency of the institutions (not shown in Table 2). The strong relationship found here seems to prove that the Olim who have made Aliyah to Israel and believe they know the legislative process well will also tend to have a higher overall knowledge level of the institutions that play a big part in the actual process itself.

Perceived Levels of Trust, Efficiency and Overall Attitudes toward Institutions

The first important finding here was the strong relationship between Olim’s perception of the efficiency level of public institutions in Israel and their level of trust in the institutions (n = 95, r = 0.60, p < 0.01). There was also a significant relationship between the Olim’s subjective knowledge of the legislative process and their perception of the efficiency level of the institutions (n = 95, r = 0.29, p < 0.01). Thirdly, there was an additional significant relationship found between Olim’s perceived knowledge of the legislative process and their level of trust in the institutions (n = 95, r = 0.22, p < 0.05), though that relationship was not as statistically strong as the first two (See Table 3).
With regard to the attitude levels of the Olim toward the five institutions, six significant correlations were found between the institutions (See Table 4). The highest positive correlation was the overall attitude of Olim toward the Prime Minister and their overall attitude toward the Knesset (n – 95, r = 0.66, p < 0.01). This finding makes sense according to the role of the Knesset in Israeli society. The Knesset is elected by the citizens of the State (according to which party garners the most votes) and ultimately once it is set, the Knesset members elect the person from the leading party who will become the Prime Minister. Currently, the 19th Knesset is in place with Binyamin Netanyahu (a member of the Likud Beiteinu party) in position as the Prime Minister. Additionally, it is important to note that a little more than a fifth of the Olim responded that they would vote for Likud Beiteinu in the next elections (21 percent), almost half of the Olim responded that they would vote for Bayit Yehudi (47 percent), and another 11 percent responded that they would vote for Yesh Atid, the three parties make up 62 members of the current 120 member coalition sitting in the Knesset (i.e. more than half of the seats).
 
 
 
 
 
Contrary to what was expected, there were no significant relationships found between the Olim’s actual knowledge of institutions and their levels of trust and efficiency of the institutions. The next set of correlations was done to check the relation between the Olim’s trusts in the various public institutions (See Table 5). In this case, there were nine significant correlations, but again, the highest correlation among them was the level of trust in the Prime Minister and the level of trust in the Knesset (n = 95, r = 0.50, p < 0.01). There was also a slightly lower, but still significant, relationship between the trust levels of the Knesset and the Supreme Court (n = 95, r = 0.45, p < 0.01) and the President and Supreme Court (n = 95, r = 0.44, p < 0.01).
 
 
 
 
 
It was also interesting to see if the way Olim view Israel as a democracy had any impact or relationship with their overall attitude toward each of the five institutions (See Table 6). To see if this was true for any or all of the five institutions, the respondents average democracy score, an additional variable which was calculated by averaging their responses to the four questions regarding democracy (which were overwhelmingly positive for the most part). This variable was correlated with their overall attitudes toward the institutions, which was also newly calculated by averaging their responses to the trust, efficiency, and overall rating of each institution. Indeed, a statistically significant correlation was found at the p < 0.01 level for the Prime Minister (n = 95, r = 0.48), Knesset (n = 95, r = 0.45), and Supreme Court (n = 95, r = 0.37), and at the p < 0.05 level for the State Comptroller (n = 95, r = 0.23).
 
 
 
 
 
 
The lone exception here was the lack of a relationship between their views of Israel as a democracy and their attitude toward the current President of Israel, Shimon Peres. The cause for this may be as a result of the fact that, although the President is an important public institution elected by the Knesset, he is viewed by many in Israel as just a ceremonial and apolitical figure of power who does not have much of a direct impact on the level of democracy in the State.

Tenure in Israel, Age and Education Level of Olim and their Knowledge Level, Levels of Trust, and Overall Attitudes toward Institutions

The final correlation, as shown in Table 7, was calculated in order to check whether the amount of time Olim have lived in Israel is connected to their levels of knowledge of the public institutions being studied. Sure enough, a positive and statistically significant relationship was found between the respondent’s year of Aliyah and their overall knowledge of the institutions (n = 95, r = 0.27, p < 0.01), thus proving that Olim become more educated and know more about Israel’s institutions over the years after making Aliyah.
Following the numerous Pearson correlations that were done on the accumulated data, a number of linear regression models were created in order to examine the value of a number of dependent variables – the respondent’s age, gender, country of origin, education level, and year of Aliyah – with regard to their perceived knowledge of the legislative process, their perceived institutional trust and perceived institutional efficiency, their average democracy score, their attitudes toward each of the institutions, and finally, their overall actual knowledge score of the public institutions. While some of the models were deemed ineffective and the results insignificant, the following three models produced several intriguing and significant results.
First of all, two significant predictors appeared in the regression model of when the respondent’s perceived knowledge of the legislative process was predicted (R Square = 0.22) (See Table 8). The first of the significant predictors was found to be gender (Beta = -0.37, p < 0.01 and other significant predictor was year of Aliyah (Beta = -0.26, p < 0.05).
 
 
 
 

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In the case of gender, it was interesting to see that men believed they know more about the legislative process in Israel (n = 55, mean = 5) than women believed they know about the legislative process (n = 40, mean = 3) (See Table 9). In the case of year of Aliyah, the fewer number of years Olim (both men and women) had lived in Israel since making Aliyah, the less they believed they knew about the legislative process (See Table 10).
 
Of all the models which tested the respondent’s overall attitudes toward each of the five institutions, the only model which produced a significant predictor was when the respondent’s overall attitude toward the Knesset was predicted (R Square = 0.07) (See Table 11). In this case, the significant predictor was the age of the Olim (Beta = 0.32, p < 0.05). What that means is that the younger the Olim are, the more positive of an attitude they have toward the current Knesset. Interestingly enough, this was the only public institution which produced any sort of significant predictor, although it was only at the p < 0.05 level, out of all of the attitudinal regression models analyzed.
 
 
 
 
The third effective regression model which produced two significant predictors was when the respondent’s actual knowledge level of the institutions was predicted (R Square = 0.31) (See Table 12).
 
 
 
 
The first significant predictor in that model was the education level of the Olim (Beta = 0.25, p < 0.05), meaning that the higher the education level of the Olim, the more they actually know overall about the five public institutions presently being studied (See Table 13). This significant finding seems to make sense because the more educated a person is the more knowledge they will often have in regarding a number of various topics, in this case, knowledge of the institutions.
 
 
 
 
The second significant predictor in this model, which was gender (Beta = -0.38, p < 0.01) stood out the most out of all the regression models analyzed. In the area of overall knowledge of public institutions, although neither gender got more than half of the general knowledge questions correct (out of a possible perfect score of 20), men (n = 55, mean = 10) noticeably knew more than women (n = 40, mean = 6) (See Table 14). In the case of year of Aliyah, the fewer number of years Olim (both men and women) have lived in Israel since making Aliyah, the overwhelmingly lower level of knowledge they had about the five institutions being studied (See Table 15).
 

Discussion and Conclusion

The design of the present study and the findings recorded reflect what was intended to measure from the outset and adequately addressed the hypotheses, thus indicating validity of the findings and validity of the study as a whole. That being said, there were still certain limitations in the administering of the study. First of all, there was the limitation of the method of distribution of the questionnaire to the Olim. As explained earlier in the study, the questionnaire was distributed to the public solely by way of the social media website, Facebook, thus limiting the sample of Olim to those who have a Facebook account and are actively using it.
Furthermore, as a result of the distribution of the questionnaire through Facebook, a majority of the survey respondents were of the same age group, country of origin, education level, and political stance as the researcher, which was to be expected due to the questionnaire being distributed by the researcher and family and friends of the researcher. As a result, some of the demographical variables did not vary as much as would have been ideal for the study. For example, there were very few older-aged Olim compared to a vast amount of young Olim, 81 of the 95 respondents were originally from the United States, a large percentage of respondents were currently in college or had just finished their undergraduate degree, and most glaring lack of variation was that there was only one lone respondent who placed himself as Left on the political affiliation scale, with the majority of respondents labeling themselves as Right or Center-Right.
Additionally, because the present study was administered in order to specifically analyze a sample of English-speaking Olim currently living in Israel, the generalizability of the study to other populations in Israel may be limited. The findings of the present study may, however, be applied to other immigrant groups who have made Aliyah to Israel in recent years, such as the population of Russian immigrants, or specifically focus on Olim from European countries, as opposed to the majority of Olim being originally from the United States. That being said, the findings presented in the previous section of the study, despite the possible limitations described above, seem to represent well the knowledge level and attitudes of the general population of Olim in Israel.
The findings recorded indicate a few theoretical implications regarding English-speaking Olim in Israel. First of all, it can be concluded that the Olim’s levels of trust in the institutions which play a part in the legislative process in Israel are indeed related to how efficient they believe the public institutions are, and more specifically, they view the Prime Minister most positively among the five major institutions. Second of all, it important to note that as the Olim live in Israel for more years, their knowledge level of the legislative process and knowledge level of the institutions are most likely going to increase.
On the other hand, in contrast to the conclusion of Alesina and La Ferrara (2011) that people who have lived in a community for longer are more likely to trust others, the level of trust, and overall attitude as well, among Olim toward the public institutions does not seem to be related to how many years they have been living in the Israel since making Aliyah. One possible explanation for the low levels of trust and low overall attitudes even among longer-tenured Olim toward the institutions may be due to their gradual integration into Israeli society and the Israeli attitude which has become accustomed to the pattern of occasional corrupt behavior that has come to unfortunately characterize Israeli politics, government officials and public institutions over the years.
Two other findings run counter to a previous study by Gibson and Caldeira (2009) which looked at the impact of knowledge on one’s attitude toward public institutions and more specifically, the Supreme Court. They found that a high level of knowledge was demonstrated when asked relatively easy general knowledge questions about the Supreme Court, but in the case of this study, Olim were unable to answer, on average, more than half of the relatively easy general knowledge questions dealing with the five public institutions being studied.
Furthermore, Gibson and Caldeira found that a person’s knowledge level of the Supreme Court had an impact on their attitudes toward other institutions, but the level of knowledge among Olim, was not only low on average, but was also not found to have any relationship with their attitudes toward the President, the Prime Minister, the Knesset, the Supreme Court, and the State Comptroller. A possible explanation for this interesting finding may be due to the simple fact that in Gibson and Caldeira’s study, because people had a high level of knowledge of the Supreme Court, their knowledge level impacted their attitudes towards the Court, while in the present study, because the Olim’s knowledge levels of the institutions were low, their attitudes were not impacted by their below-average knowledge of the institutions.
Finally, there are a few ways in which the present study could have been done differently or can be improved upon with future research. The most obvious improvement to the study is to accumulate a bigger sample of English-speaking Olim currently living in the State who have a more wide-ranging background (education level, political affiliation, etc.) than the current sample used. English-speaking Olim are an ever-growing population in Israel, so it would be interesting to do a longitudinal study of a sample of Olim in order to see if their level of knowledge of the legislative process,  level of knowledge of public institutions in Israel, level of trust in the institutions, perceived level of efficiency of the institutions and overall attitude toward the public institutions increase positively with every five or ten additional years that they live in Israel as a part of society and become accustomed to the legislative process in place.
An interesting idea of a study which would be beneficial to build off of the present study would be to look at more public institutions in Israel. In studying more public institutions than only the President, the Prime Minister, the Knesset, the Supreme Court, and the State Comptroller, one can see Olim’s view of other institutions that play a large role in the functionality of Israeli society – the Israel Defense Forces, the media, or religious leaders, for example. A study of Olim’s attitude toward the Israel Defense Forces would be especially intriguing, as many of the Olim who come to Israel (especially the younger Olim) have to serve in the Israeli army and, as a result of having a more personal experience and association with the institution, they may have a more opinionated view of the army as a public institution or a more extreme level of trust or level of efficiency of the army.
Another idea for future research would be to analyze the change of attitudes among Olim after the new government elections every four years. A study of Olim’s attitudes after a new election may show a change in attitude or trust due to a conflict of interest between the political affiliation of many English-speaking Olim and the political affiliation of the party or parties with the majority of the seats in the Knesset, or more specifically, the Prime Minister and President who are appointed.
Due to the ever-growing population in Israel of English-speaking Olim, as well as Olim from non-English speaking countries, the attitudes and levels of knowledge of these new immigrants who chose to move to a foreign country and join a new society with a very different structure than they had been accustomed to previously is a topic worthy of much additional research in the coming years.

Bibliography

Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana (2002). Who trusts others? Journal of Public Economics, 85, 207-234.
Barak, Aharon (2002). A judge on judging: The role of a Supreme Court in a democracy. Harvard Law Review. 116(1), 19-162.
Bianco, William T. (1994). Trust: Representatives and constituents. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Burke, C. Shawn, Sims, Dana E., Lazzara, Elizabeth H., & Salas, Eduardo (2007). Trust in leadership: A multi-level review and integration. The Leadership Quarterly, 18(6), 606-632.
Delli Carpini, Michael X. (2005). An overview of the state of citizens’ knowledge about politics. In Mitchell S. McKinney, et al., Communicating Politics: Engaging the Public in Democratic Life. (pp. 27-40) New York: Peter Lang International Academic Publishers.
Franklin, Charles H. & Kosaki, Liane C. (1995). Media, knowledge, and public evaluations of the Supreme Court. In Lee Epstein, Ed., Contemplating Courts. (pp. 352-375) Washington: Congressional Quarterly Press.
Franklin, Charles H., Kosaki, Liane C., & Kritzer, Herbert M. (1993). The salience of
Supreme Court decisions. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American
Political Science Association, Washington, DC, 1993.
Gambetta, Diego (1988). Trust: Making and breaking cooperative relations. New York: Basil Blackwell.
Gamson, William A (1968). Power and discontent. Homewood, IL: The Dorsey Press.
Gibson, James L. & Caldeira, Gregory A. (2009). Knowing the Supreme Court? A reconsideration of public ignorance of the High Court. The Journal of Politics, 71(2), 429-441.
Gibson, James L. & Caldeira, Gregory A. (2011). Has legal realism damaged the legitimacy of the U.S. Supreme Court? Law & Society Review, 45(1), 195-219.
Gibson, James L., Caldeira, Gregory A., & Baird, Vanessa A. (1998). On the legitimacy of the National High Courts. The American Political Science Review, 92(2), 343-358.
Hazan, Reuven Y. & Rahat, Gideon (2000). Representation, electoral reform, and democracy: Theoretical and empirical lessons from the 1996 elections in Israel. Comparative Political Studies, 33(10), 1310-1336.
Hermann, Tamar, Heller, Ella, Atmor, Nir, & Lebel, Yuval (2013). The Israeli Democracy Index 2013. Jerusalem: The Israel Democracy Institute Press.
Lapidot, Yael, Kark, Ronit, & Shamir, Boas (2007). The impact of situational vulnerability on the development and erosion of followers’ trust in their leader. The Leadership Quarterly, 18(1), 16-34.
Mishler, William & Rose, Richard (1997). Trust, distrust and skepticism: Popular evaluations of civil and political institutions in post-Communist societies. The Journal of Politics, 59(2), 418-451.
Mishler, William & Rose, Richard (2001). What are the origins of political trust? Testing institutional and cultural theories in post-Communist societies. Comparative Political Studies, 34(1), 30-62.
Przeworski, Adam, Alvarez, Michael, Cheibub, José Antonio, & Limongi, Fernando (1996). What makes democracies endure? Journal of Democracy, 7(1), 39-55.
Scott, Kevin M. & Saunders, Kyle L. (2006). Supreme Court influence and the awareness of court decisions. Paper presented at annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia, PA, 2006.
Sokol, Sam (2013, December 29). 2013 Aliyah numbers. The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved from http://www.jpost.com/Jewish-World/Jewish-News/NBN-disputes-Jewish-Agencys-aliya-numbers-336504
Zussman, David (1997). Do citizens trust their governments? Canadian Public Administration, 40(2), 234-254.
 
 

Appendix A

Copy of the questionnaire created using Google docs:
Olim’s View of Public Institutions in Israel Questionnaire
 
I am conducting a research project for a course at Bar Ilan University that examines Olim’s views of public institutions in Israel.
I appreciate your cooperation in filling out this questionnaire. Please be assured that your participation is anonymous, and there are no identifying details on the questionnaire.
For the questions with a scale, please mark the answer that best expresses the way you feel. For the multiple choice and fill-in questions, please mark the answer you believe is correct.
 
First, we will ask you a few general questions:
How would you rate your general level of knowledge of the legislative process in Israel?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
None Very knowledgeable

 
To what extent do you trust political institutions in Israel?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Not at all Completely

 
How efficient do you think political institutions are in Israel?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Not efficient Very efficient

 
The following are questions regarding Israel as a democracy:
To what extent do you agree with the following statement: “Democracy may have its problems, but it is still the best form of government”?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Completely Disagree Completely Agree

 
How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the functioning of democracy in Israel?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Completely Dissatisfied Completely Satisfied

 
To what extent do you agree that Israel is a true democracy?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Not at all Completely

 
To what extent do you believe the four principles of democracy (freedom of religion, the right to live with dignity, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly) are upheld today in Israel?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Not at all Completely

 
The following are questions regarding the President of Israel:
How would you rate your level of knowledge of the role of the President of Israel?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
None Very knowledgeable

 

  1. click here for more information on this paper

How long is a President of Israel’s term in office?*
5 years
7 years
10 years
No limit
I don’t know
 
Can the President of Israel be re-elected?*
Yes
No
I don’t know
 
Who can run for President of Israel?*
Any Israeli citizen who was born in the State
Any Israeli citizen who is a resident of the State
Any Israeli citizen who has lived entire life in the State
Past Member of Knesset
I don’t know
 
Who is the current President of Israel?*
 
To what extent do you trust the current President of Israel?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Not at all Completely

 
How efficient do you believe the current President of Israel is?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Not efficient Very efficient

 
How would you rate the current President of Israel?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Very bad Excellent

 
The following are questions regarding the Prime Minister of Israel:
How would you rate your level of knowledge of the role of the Prime Minister of Israel?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
None Very knowledgeable

 
How long is a Prime Minister of Israel’s maximum term in office?*
5 years
7 years
10 years
No limit
I don’t know
 
If the Prime Minister is temporarily incapacitated, who becomes the acting Prime Minister?*
State Comptroller
Speaker of the Knesset
Finance Minister
Cabinet’s choice of a replacement
I don’t know
 
If the Prime Minister dies while in office, who becomes the new Prime Minister?*
Cabinet’s choice of a replacement
Finance Minister
State Comptroller
Speaker of the Knesset
I don’t know
 
Who is the current Prime Minister of Israel?*
 
To what extent do you trust the current Prime Minister of Israel?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Not at all Completely

 
How efficient do you believe the current Prime Minister of Israel is?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Not efficient Very efficient

 
How would you rate the current Prime Minister of Israel?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Very bad Excellent

 
The following are questions regarding the Knesset:
How would you rate your level of knowledge of the role of the Knesset in Israel?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
None Very knowledgeable

 
The Knesset constitutes what branch of the Israeli government?*
Legislative
Executive
Judicial
Parliamentary
I don’t know
 
What is the required electoral threshold of a party in order to be allocated a seat in the Knesset?*
(as of March 11, 2014)
1%
1.5%
2%
3.25%
I don’t know
 
Which government official can choose to dissolve the Knesset?*
President
Prime Minister
State Comptroller
Speaker of the Knesset
I don’t know
 
The current Knesset is the ___ Knesset?*
Note: Your answer should be a number
 
To what extent do you trust the current Knesset?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Not at all Completely

 
How efficient do you believe the current Knesset is?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Not efficient Very efficient

 
How would you rate the current Knesset of Israel?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Very bad Excellent

 
The following are questions regarding the Supreme Court in Israel:
How would you rate your level of knowledge of the role of the Supreme Court in Israel?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
None Very knowledgeable

 
How many justices are there in the Supreme Court?*
5
10
15
20
I don’t know
 
How long do justices remain in the Supreme Court?*
4 years
10 years
40 years
For life (or until resignation, retirement at age 70, or forced removal from office)

  1. click here for more information on this paper

I don’t know
 
Where is the Supreme Court located in Israel?*
Tel Aviv
Haifa
Jerusalem
Petach Tikva
I don’t know
 
Who is the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in Israel?*
 
To what extent do you trust the current Supreme Court?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Not at all Completely

 
How efficient do you believe the current Supreme Court is?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Not efficient Very efficient

 
How would you rate the current Supreme Court?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Very bad Excellent

 
The following are questions regarding the State Comptroller of Israel:
How would you rate your level of knowledge of the role of the State Comptroller of Israel?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
None Very knowledgeable

 
How long is the State Comptroller’s term in office?*
5 years
7 years
10 years
No limit
I don’t know
 
Can the State Comptroller be re-elected?*
Yes
No
I don’t know
 
Which part of the government does the State Comptroller answer to?*
President
Prime Minister
Knesset
Supreme Court
I don’t know
 
Who is the current State Comptroller of Israel?*
 
To what extent do you trust the current State Comptroller?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Not at all Completely

 
How efficient do you believe the current State Comptroller is?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Not efficient Very efficient

 
How would you rate the current State Comptroller?*

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Very bad Excellent

 
We will now ask you a few personal questions. Please indicate the answer that most closely reflects your situation.
Age*
 
Gender*
Male
Female
 
What country are you from?*
 
Education Level*
Up to High School Diploma
Current Undergraduate Student
Undergraduate Degree (but no further education)
Current Masters/Doctorate Student
Masters Degree/Doctorate
 
Year of Aliyah*
 
Political Affiliation*
Left
Center-Left
Center
Center-Right
Right
 
Which political party would you vote for in the next elections?*
Likud Beiteinu
Yesh Atid
HaAvodah (Labor Party)
Bayit Yehudi
Shas
United Torah Judaism
Meretz
Other
 
[1] The respondents were asked on a scale of 1 to 7 to rate their subjective knowledge level of the five institutions. The responses for each institution were split into three sections – Olim who marked 1 to 3 = below-average knowledge level, Olim who marked 4 = average knowledge level, Olim who marked 5 to 7 = above-average knowledge level – and each section’s total was then converted to a percentage (out of 100%).
Introduction
Since the disclosure of classified documents by Edward Snowden, in 2013 a public outburst all over the world raised issues of privacy and surveillance. This American computer specialist, former contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA) revealed in 2013 details of global surveillance programs run by the NSA and other governments[1].
 
In Israel 43 officers, soldiers, and graduates of the Israel Defense Force’s elite intelligence unit (8200) wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chef of Staff, explaining their reluctance to report for the reserve duty, related to the Palestinian arena. They felt that they violate basic rights. The signatories said: “Our consciences won’t allow us”. They wish to warn the Israeli public of their actions. According to them, some of their operations might seem immoral and not ethical. They recorded wiretapped conversations – such as sex chats- and play it to trainees and soldiers[2].
 
This paper examines the extent to which Israelis are concerned about privacy and data protection and the factors related to these concerns. The purpose of this study is to answer four main research questions:

  • To what extent are concerns for security related to Israeli attitudes to surveillance?
  • Are people who have had experience with the Israeli military less concerned with issues of privacy than those without military experience?
  • Are specific political views related to concerns with issues of privacy?
  • Does professional status have an impact on the concern with issues of privacy?

 
Two conditions make Israel particularly interesting to study: the security situation, and the large amount invested in security technology. Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin recently pointed out that «Due to the security threat, we have record number of young people who enter the fields of technology and cyber defense, every year, at the young age of 18, within the framework of their military service».
Furthermore, the Boston Globe has ranked Tel Aviv second best city for business start-ups after The Silicon Valley[3]. Israel spends a high percentage of its budget on research and development (R&D) in relation to its GDP[4]. The combination of those factors has made this study of particular interest in Israel. Indeed, the advanced technology that Israel has access to, in fields such as telecommunication, computer sciences and electronics, combine with the national threats make Israel a specific and interesting place for this study.
 
As Solove pointed out in his book  (2008), debates about issues of privacy exist since antiquity.  However, but the progress of new technologies have placed this debate in the frontline. Moreover, progresses in technological development have transformed privacy concern from a local to a global issue. It is global due to this progress. We can also find that the issues over privacy and surveillance on the political and economical framework (Ericson, 2006).
 
In order to conduct a survey-based empirical research on the topic of surveillance and privacy, a survey was created based on the existing literature. The next section present the different study related to privacy and surveillance.
 
 
 
 
 
Literature review
 
The term privacy hasn’t been defined unitarily among researchers (Goodwin, 1991). This term is generally used in literature from Westin (1967), as “the right of the individual to decide what information about himself should be communicated to others and under what condition”. As Clarke pointed out, privacy has multiple dimensions: the privacy of the person (body), the privacy of personal behavior, privacy of personal communications, privacy of personal data, and privacy of personal experience. (For definitions of privacy, see Roger Clarke’s website http://www.rogerclarke.com/DV/Intro.html). According to how one determines privacy, one could find numerous concepts of privacy in the literature. This research endorses the approach of privacy as an individual right.
 
The Internet had a tremendous impact on our society especially in the field of communications. Indeed, researches (Bandyopadhyay, 2009) recognized the growing concern of privacy in the digital framework. Since the commencement of Internet the issues of privacy have been a main concern among users (Caudill and Murphy, 2000; Udo, 2001). Development of Internet and storage technologies has focused the interest of researches in privacy (Clarke 1998). Privacy concerns are single most sited reason for declaiming to use the Internet (Westin 2001).
 
Fuchs claimed that it would be impossible to find one universal, generally accepted definition of surveillance. (http://www.sns3.uti.at/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/The-Internet-Surveillance-Research-Paper-Series-1-Christian-Fuchs-How-Surveillance-Can-Be-Defined.pdf).  One can use Collins definition of surveillance “close observation or supervision maintained over a person, group”. Surveillance comes from French “to watch over”. This term has two values: one is security and the other one is control for moral reasons (Lyon, D. (2001) Surveillance Society: Monitoring Everyday Life. Buckingham: Open University Press, p.3) One can watch over in order to prevent something bad to happen because he is worry. Another reason might imply a step further and watch over to normalize one’s behavior.
 
While technology gave us a possibility to distant ourselves from the crowd due to TV, cars, phone, it made also the possibility to monitor and record our behavior (Sykes, p.16) Sykes mentions, “the same society that allows us to live anonymously relies on surveillance to keep track of us because we are a society of strangers”.

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Citizens would oppose surveillance if they experienced state surveillance as a treat to democracy and political rights. Privacy is considered as a basic human right. It is an essential to personal development, individual dignity, and the ability of citizens to engage in a meaningful social relationship. Surveillance could jeopardize freedom of expression and freedom of association. Democracy is based on the trust between the government and its citizens. An effective control of state surveillance must be regulated. The problematic is that Lawmakers cannot keep up with the progress of technology (Goold, 2010).
 
We believe that one’s attitude towards surveillance reflects citizens’ opinion on CCTV in public places and personal data. Empirical studies have been conducted on the attitudes towards the use of CCTV in public places (Philips 1999, Slobogin 2002). Personal information studies have been conducted to see the impact on businesses (Nam et al, 2006).
 
According to scholars there is a need for more empirical studies on privacy and surveillance (Zureik, 2004). Previous researches have identified various typologies of person regarding their attitude towards personal information and surveillance (Gandy, 2003; Haggert and Gazso, 2005). They found that a part of individuals was concern about the increasing of surveillance whereas another part of population was pro-surveillance oriented.
Gandy differentiates three types of individuals such as “privacy fundamentalists”, “the pragmatic majority”, and “the unconcerned”.
 
There have been no previous researches on privacy and surveillance in Israel conducted in English. It is a relatively new subject that people might avoid. Israel is particularly in need of surveillance due to its geopolitical situation.
 
 
Methodology
 
This research is based on a questionnaire spread over the Internet and social media. The sample was constituted of people living in Israel. We gathered data on Israeli citizens as well as new immigrants. Due to our backgrounds and entourage we were able to have approximately half-half. We tried to represent the people living in Israel. Even though, we collected a large sample of 160 candidates, we must disclose that it is more representative of the metropolitan. Furthermore, the number of Israeli versus the number of new immigrants doesn’t represent the reality in Israel. The rate of new immigrants in our sample is around 67%. It can be understand by the fact that we are both non-Israeli citizens.
 
The questionnaire included 43 questions and took about 8 minutes. The respondents were asked to provide demographic information, their political views, and military service and to rate their views in the form of a statement and each question was measured by Likert-scaled items ranking from 1 (completely disagree) to 5 (completely agree) on statements about privacy and surveillance. They were able to do it at any time and anywhere with Internet connection.
 
 
The questionnaire was conducted according to the guidelines developed to assess X research topics: situation in Israel, acceptance of surveillance, effectiveness of CCTV, effectiveness in preventing, desirability of surveillance of government and desirability of surveillance of institutions.
 
The survey included questions about public opinion and attitudes on the effectiveness of CCTV and other surveillance tools, evaluation of privacy protection policies, views on legislation and government regulations, data collection in Israel conducted by private companies and institutions, data storage and security, data usage, data disclosure and dissemination done by private companies and institutions, as well as citizens’ privacy concern and patterns of behavior in various situations.
Demographic variables included gender, profession, status, nationality and political views. The gender of respondents was coded 1 for male and 2 for female in the IBM SPSS program. Questions about their use of communication by smartphone and email were coded as follows: (1) every day or most days, (2) about once a week, (3) a few times a month, (4) once a month, and (5) almost never. Regarding their status the respondents were asked whether they were employee or employer. First, we analyzed the data collected in a descriptive manner to determine the public on privacy and surveillance in Israel. In order to quantify scale reliabilities we calculated the Cronbach alpha. We were also interested by the political views.
The respondents were composed of mainly of women (60.6%), whereas men were 36.9% and 4 people didn’t provide the information concerning their gender. The respondents had to rate their political views. The findings are consistent within the people living in Israel. Indeed we can see that 38.8% (majority) support the right wing. Follow closely by, the centrist (37.5%). Whereas few of candidates (13.8%) were in favor of left wing. And 9 (5.7%) chose whether the extreme left or extreme right.
 
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Appendix
 
The World Bank database
 
[1] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/06/nsa-phone-records-verizon-court-order
[2] http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4570337,00.html
[3] http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4415932,00.html
[4] http://databank.worldbank.org/data/views/reports/tableview.aspx see the chart in the appendix

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