Tracking Studies

1. The Identity and National Identification of Hong Kong People

In 1996, Eric Ma and Anthony Fung started the “Hong Kong Identity” tracking study to capture the changes in the national and local identification of Hong Kong people. There are two major components: firstly, the emotional responses to national and local icons; and secondly, the “identity distance” between Hong Kong people’s perception of themselves and those living in mainland China. As indicated in the 1996 survey, Hong Kong people had a strong sense of unease towards national reintegration in 1997. These feelings had gradually subsided in the 2000s, but have re-emerged in recent years. The results of the survey in 1996 and 2012 caught the attention of the media and triggered social debates.

2. Public Evaluation on Media Credibility

The purpose of this project is to measure the performance of Hong Kong news organizations in terms of their credibility, and track the changes over time. It is a major yardstick to gauge the “health” of the news industry in Hong Kong. The principle investigator is Clement So, and Joseph Chan is also involved in the project.

The study relies on periodic public telephone surveys of Hong Kong citizens. The first such survey was conducted in 1997. Subsequently similar surveys were done in 2001, 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2012. The study uses a set of core questions asking the public to evaluate the performance of various news organizations by means of a score from 1 to 10. The news organizations include both newspapers and electronic media. Each and every major local news organization is evaluated by the public, as well as the overall performance of the news industry. This approach provides scores on both the individual organizations and the journalistic community as a whole.

Findings from previous surveys show that there is a stable pattern of media credibility as perceived by the Hong Kong public. Electronic media usually rank higher than the newspapers. There is also a pecking order within the electronic media, as well as within the newspapers. For example, among the electronic media, Radio-Television Hong Kong and HK-TVB have been ranked first and second respectively over the years. Among the many newspapers, South China Morning Post and Ming Pao Daily News have been the top two newspapers.

In recent surveys some major news organizations from the United States, the United Kingdom and Mainland China are also evaluated so as to provide benchmarks for comparison. Future surveys may include questions on the nature and characteristics of the concept of media credibility as perceived by the citizens in Hong Kong. Collaborations with scholars in other places are desirable so that media credibility performances can be compared.

Similar set of questions about media credibility is used in a separate project: the Hong Kong journalist survey which is done once every five years starting from 1990. It is found that the public and the journalists differ significantly in terms of their credibility evaluations of the various news organizations.

Findings of previous surveys have been reported in the newspapers and professional magazines. Some conference papers as well as journal articles were produced as a result. Results have been cited by the news community and other social organizations as well.

survey View survey result

3. Usage of Traditional and New Media

Started in the Centre for Communication and Public Opinion Survey by Professor Louis Leung in 2006, the media use tracking study was conducted to monitor the changes in the use of traditional and new media in Hong Kong households every two years. Respondents were asked about ownership of older and newer media technologies, usage patterns of traditional media, and scope and intensity of use of new media. In addition to the tracking of media use, each study also investigates a specific topic related to the social impact of new communication technology and society. Past projects included:

2006: Internet embeddedness: Links with online health information seeking, expectancy value/quality of health information websites, and Internet usage patterns. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 11(5): 565-569.
2008: Effects of Internet connectedness and information literacy on quality of life. Social indicators Research, 98(2): 273 – 290.
2010: Generational differences in content generation in social media: The roles of the gratifications sought and of narcissism. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(3), 997-1006.
2012: Using tablet in solitude for stress reduction: An examination of desire for aloneness, leisure boredom, tablet activities, and location of use. Computers in Human Behavior, 48, 328-391.
2014:  Linking sensation seeking, multitasking, free time boredom, flow experience, and smartphone use to leisure satisfaction (coming soon)
survey View survey result

4. Public Perceptions on Press Freedom and Media Self-censorship

Conducted every two years since 2006, this tracking study aims at registering the Hong Kong public’s perception of the status of press freedom in the city and the seriousness of the media self-censorship. The respondents are constituted by adult Chinese speaking Hong Kong residents. The survey includes questions that ask about satisfactory level of the respondents to the degree of press freedom in Hong Kong, and whether they regarded various specific practices of media self-censorship as existent or not, and their belief on media roles and performance.


5. Comparative Research on Social Media and Civic Engagement among University Students in Greater China

This comparative study aims at understanding the relationship between university students’ social media usage and civic engagement in Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan. The survey will examine university students’ general internet use, social media use, characteristics of social media connections, civic awareness, public affairs knowledge, and online and offline civic engagement. The first wave of the study has been conducted in 2014.

6. Comparing Corporate Communication Cultures

This study is situated in an internationally collaborative research project, “Comparing Corporate Communication Cultures,” which includes participating countries from Australia, Austria, Germany, Great Britain, Indonesia, Israel, New Zealand, Switzerland and Vietnam and so on. This collaborative study aims to explore the links between culture and corporate communication and answer the following questions: “What are the consequences for communication management, when the cultural context alters? How can a global identity be developed while nevertheless remaining sensitive towards local cultures? To what degree do communication strategies need to be adjusted? Which publics are not yet on the corporate radar? Which messages and channels work in one country, but not in another? What about internal communication? How are multinational teams best dealt with? And what about communication practices that are perceived as unethical in one country, but are common business standard in another?”