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Communications

The European Journal of Communication Research

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


IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 0.744
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.147

CiteScore 2017: 1.49

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.703
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.736

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1613-4087
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Volume 42, Issue 4

Issues

User comments about research findings: How conflictual information in online science journalistic articles influences laypeople’s understanding of scientific tentativeness

Danny Flemming / Insa Feinkohl / Ulrike Cress
  • Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien/Knowledge Media Research Center, Tübingen, Germany
  • University of Tübingen, Department of Psychology Tübingen, Germany
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/ Joachim Kimmerle
  • Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien/Knowledge Media Research Center, Tübingen, Germany
  • University of Tübingen, Department of Psychology Tübingen, Germany
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  • Other articles by this author:
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Published Online: 2017-10-03 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/commun-2017-0037

Abstract

This study investigated whether conflictual information about novel medical findings in online newspaper articles affected laypeople’s perception of tentativeness, their attitude toward, and fear of, the medical procedure in question. For this purpose, we rated the user comments from all available online newspaper articles about Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). Multilevel regressions revealed that higher levels of conflictual information in the articles were associated with higher levels of expressed tentativeness and a more negative attitude toward DBS expressed in the user comments. No significant relationship with expressed fear of DBS was found. We conclude that journalistic preparation and style is directly associated with readers’ perception of tentativeness and opinion formation and discuss suggestions for journalistic presentation of scientific information.

Keywords: Tentativeness; online science journalism; user comments; Deep Brain Stimulation; attitude

About the article

Published Online: 2017-10-03

Published in Print: 2017-11-27


Citation Information: Communications, Volume 42, Issue 4, Pages 465–480, ISSN (Online) 1613-4087, ISSN (Print) 0341-2059, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/commun-2017-0037.

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