Investigating Effects of Tolerance-Intolerance of Ambiguity and the Teaching of Public Relations Writing: A Quasi-Experiment

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An exploratory, quasi-experiment found that students' individual levels of tolerance-intolerance of ambiguity (TIA), along with a portfolio grading teaching technique, mitigated their views of public relations and their evaluations of their experiences in the public relations writing course. Students with low TIA who had portfolio grading for writing assignments were least likely to think their grades reflected the amount of work they put into the course. Students with high TIA were more likely to think public relations problems were simple to solve and they better appreciated instructors who introduced new viewpoints. In general, students who wrote assignments for a predominant “class client” instead of multiple class clients had a better course experience and felt they learned more about public relations practice, while students who wrote assignments for multiple clients thought their grades more accurately reflected their work. This study also found the AT-20 measure of tolerance of ambiguity stable and moderately reliable compared with measures used in earlier TIA studies.