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Communications

The European Journal of Communication Research

Ed. by Averbeck-Lietz, Stefanie / d'Haenens, Leen

4 Issues per year


IMPACT FACTOR 2016: 0.933
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.980

CiteScore 2016: 1.17

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.626
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 1.100

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1613-4087
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Volume 41, Issue 3 (Sep 2016)

Issues

Who’s right: The author or the audience? Effects of user comments and ratings on the perception of online science articles

Stephan Winter
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Social Psychology: Media and Communication, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
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/ Nicole C. Krämer
Published Online: 2016-09-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/commun-2016-0008

Abstract

When laypersons are interested in science-related questions, they frequently visit participatory websites such as science blogs. Typically, articles on these sites are accompanied by user comments or ratings. The present research investigated the effects of different forms of user feedback on readers’ interpretation of science topics. In two experiments (N = 178), participants read a one-sided blog article about the dangers of violent video games. The visible user reactions contradicted the slant of the article and were systematically varied (argumentative comments vs. subjective comments vs. ratings vs. none). Results of Study 1 showed that parents (for whom the topic is relevant) made use of comments and ratings to infer the opinion climate, while there were only limited effects on readers’ attitudes. Less involved readers (student participants in Study 2), in contrast, were susceptible to the persuasive influence of user comments. Implications regarding the role of user reactions in online science communication are discussed.

Keywords: science communication; user-generated content; blogs; attitudes; comments; argument quality

About the article

Published Online: 2016-09-02

Published in Print: 2016-09-01


Citation Information: Communications, ISSN (Online) 1613-4087, ISSN (Print) 0341-2059, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/commun-2016-0008.

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©2016 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin Boston. Copyright Clearance Center

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