Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies

First Advisor

Robert M. Dimit


A study of Big Stone Lake area residents was accomplished to aid in determining the following: (1) The existing attitudinal orientations of area residents relative to an incoming electrical generating facility (the Big Stone Power Plant); (2) The degree of association between selected variables and respondents' environmental attitudes; (3) The capability of the areas existing institutions to accommodate the local population, and possible effects of plant construction and operation; (4) The potential reference groups utilized for behavioral orientation. The unit of analysis consisted of Big Stone Lake area residents within a three county universe of discourse. Primary emphasis in sampling was placed upon individuals residing in Big Stone City, South Dakota; (Roberts County) Milbank, South Dakota; (Grant County) and Ortonville, Minnesota (Lac Qui Parle County), as these specific areas were closest to the site of proposed plant construction. A stratified-random sampling method was used. The interview schedule included personal, social, and economic characteristics of individuals in the sampling frame. Knowledge and attitude questions relative to respondent perception-of the incoming power plant were also included. Through the use of a Likert-type sum[1]mated rating scale, the degree of attitudinal favorability toward a thirty-five point response set was calculated. Prior to final administration, the interview schedule was pre-tested in Clear Lake, South Dakota. Utilizing a reference group theoretical orientation, the following were considered as independent variables of the study: level of know[1]ledge; organizational participation; length of residence; education; age; sex; community identification; family size; and level of living. The association between a set of selected independent variables and area respondents' environmental attitudes was hypothesized. Those hypothesized relationships were analyzed through utilization of a stepwise least squares multivariate linear equation.
The major findings and conclusions were:
1. The existing attitudinal orientations of respondents toward the incoming Big Stone Power Plant were generally favorable. Most respondents appeared to view the incoming industry as a decided economic advantage to the immediate area. Few respondents indicated unfavorable perceptions of the facility.
2. Of the ten independent variables hypothesized in set relationship to environmental attitude, three achieved significance at the chosen level of significance. They were: level of knowledge; organizational participation; and length of residence.
3. The institutions in the area of study appear adequate to accommodate the projected influx of both the construction work force and the permanent staff of the Big Stone power plant. Expansion of community institutions does not appear necessary at this time.
4. It was possible to identify three potential points of reference for behavioral orientation. Through statistical analysis, it appears that level of knowledge, rate of organizational participation, and length of residence may serve as possible sources of attitudinal orientation.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Behaviorism (Psychology)
Attitude (Psychology)
Big Stone Lake (Minn. and S.D.)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University

Included in

Sociology Commons