Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

First Advisor

Joe W. Kotrlik


The study determined the perceptions that the members of the 1997 Louisiana Legislature held of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service (LCES) and identified factors that affected the perceptions. The factors included in the study were: familiarity with LCES programs, perception of effectiveness, sources of LCES information, and participation in LCES programs. The study also determined the association of selected characteristics with Legislators' perceptions. Of the 144 legislators contacted, 109 surveys (76%) were returned. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the personal characteristics of the legislators and correlation coefficients were calculated. Stepwise multiple regression at the.05 level was used to develop a model which explained the legislators' perception of LCES. Findings indicated that legislators were familiar with LCES, with the 4-H program receiving the highest familiarity. The agriculture and 4-H programs were perceived as very effective by the legislators. The legislators indicated that printed information, personal contacts, newsletters and newspaper articles provided moderate exposure to LCES. A majority of the legislators had attended at least one 4-H youth development activity. Rural legislators were more familiar with LCES, were more likely to be exposed to LCES information sources, perceived LCES as effective, and participated more in LCES activities than urban legislators. Little correlation existed between age of legislators, their years of service in the legislature and familiarity, participation, perception and participation. In the regression model, party affiliation of the legislator was the best predictor of familiarity and explained 18% of the variance. Age was the best predictor of legislators' participation in LCES programs; considered alone, this variable explained 6% of the variance. Agriculture Committee membership was the best predictor of perception of the effectiveness of LCES programs and explained 12% of the variance. Agriculture Committee membership also was the best predictor of legislators' exposure to LCES information sources, explaining 12% of the variance. Recommendations were that programs be designed for strengthening the image of the LCES. An effort must be made to help both rural and urban legislators understand the mission and programs of LCES, with special emphasis on urban populations.