Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

Communication, MA

Committee Chair

D'Silva, Margaret

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Wang, Jasmine Yi

Committee Member

Wang, Jasmine Yi

Committee Member

Wu, Yue

Author's Keywords

media richness; communication media choice; high context/ low context culture


This study focuses on a widely used cultural construct, high context and low context culture to investigate the culture’s influence on media choices. This research compares the communication media choices of two cultures: the high context culture of China and the low context culture of the United States. 351 participants from the two countries filled out the surveys. All the participants were college students; 195 participants were from a mid-size college in China and 156 from a Midwestern University in the United States. The survey included the high context-low context scale, media richness questions and how participants choose media to communicate under different circumstances in school settings. The overall result confirmed that China is a high context culture and the U.S.A is a low context culture. The research findings supported the hypothesis that there is a difference between communication media choices in China and the U.S.A. The findings of this study indicate that cultural differences influence people’s choice of their communication media. Overall findings supported the hypothesis that Chinese participants tend to use richer media while the U.S participants tend to use less rich media. However, sometimes the Chinese participants chose less rich media such as text messages or phone calls over face-to-face communication. The unexpected findings may be due to factors other than high context and low context culture. The discussion and implication of this study suggest that future studies can focus on other factors such as power distance and people’s decision-making processes.