The effects of sourcedocuments on recall and credibility Feb. 28, 2012 Megan Duncan Master’s thesis
Lit: Role of journalism • Human Sources • Documents • Simplify complex ideas Interpret • Put new ideas in context • Traditional: Inverted pyramid Report • Newer: Narrative
Lit: Source documents and recall Improved recall Narrative writing Graphical format
Lit: Source documents and credibility Improved credibility HSM Source transparency
Hypotheses and Research QuestionsRecall• H1: Exposure to a copy of a court document and a traditional news story about that document will increase the reader’s recall of the story when compared to being exposed to a news story alone.• RQ1: What factors influence recall?Credibility• H2: Exposure to a copy of a court document and a traditional news story about that document will increase the reader’s perception of credibility of the story when compared to being exposed to a news story alone.• RQ1: What factors influence credibility?
Participants in the experiment Days the online Condition experiment was open to participants 77 Treatment 81 Completed the Control experiment Removed for missing data The Gender Removed for prior mean knowledge age was 29 Female 71 Male Used in analysis
Results: Open-ended summaries “A Jewish man from an American “Someone from Boston offered to company was selling information to sell a foreign country secrets from another country, Country X. The FBI caught him by setting up a sting his company.” operation.” Participant 174, control Participant 131, control “Doxer worked for an Internet “A man named Doxer was technology company in Massachusetts accused of committing a crime. and offered to sell an undisclosed country information about confidential matters. He claims he did nothing The country got wind of it, told the wrong but the authorities, and United States, and then worked with the the criminal report, say FBI to help build a case against Doxer.” differently. His mother is also Participant 27, treatment a ‘terrible person.’” Participant 66, treatment
Results: RecallParticipants were asked recall questions about a news story Those who saw the source Those who saw ONLY the news story document answered on average answered on average questions correctly. questions correctly.When participants who answered questions correctly were removed fromanalysis, those who saw the source document answered percent correctly.Those who saw the news story only answered percent correctly. Independent Sample T-test of Proportion of Recall Questions Correct by Condition Mean proportion SD t p Control (77) .7217 .26412 -1.652 .101 Treatment (81) .7866 .22714 Participants who answered all recall questions incorrectly removed (N=4) Control (75) .7410 .23915 -1.872 .063 Treatment (79) .8065 .19144
Results: Recall questions had significance between conditionsWhat did the person charged with a Which agency investigated the crime?crime leave at the “dead drop”?Treatment Treatment Correct Correct Incorrect Incorrect Control Control Mean SD t p Mean SD t pControl (77) .73 .448 Control (77) .58 .496Treatment (81) .85 .357 Treatment (81) .84 .369 -1.925 .056 -3.652 .000
Results: CredibilityParticipants were asked credibility questions questions had statistical difference between control and treatmentOn a scale of to , participants were asked to rate their perception of the news article.The average credibility score was . The average trust score was aboutthe same: . Overall, participants rated it as more credible than not. Independent sample T-test of perception of credibility by condition Mean SD t p Control (77) 29.1429 5.89539 .235 .814 Treatment (81) 28.9012 6.92929
Results: Hypotheses • H1: Exposure to a copy of a • H2: Exposure to a copy of a court document and a court document and a traditional news story traditional news story about about that document will that document will increase increase the reader’s recall the reader’s perception of credibility of the story when Recall of the story when compared to being exposed to a news story alone. Credibility compared to being exposed to a news story alone. • Based on these results, • Based on these results, there there was not enough was no evidence to support Not evidence to support H1. Not H2.supported supported
Results: Research questions Race/ethnicity News Time p=.070 p=.023 Interest p=.014 Story Interest Recall p=.000, Credibility p=.007 Interaction: Condition X Story Time Interest p=.016 p=.007
Discussion: Recall Mean proportion of recall questions answered correctly by condition influenced by story interest interest Recall StoryAmong those whoanswered at least recallquestion correctly, therewas statistical differencebetween conditions. Thismay indicate an effect ofsource documents on HSMthose who actually read had an effect on recall and not onthe news story. credibility. This is the opposite of what the literature predicted.
Discussion: Credibility Providing an official document that When participants were carried with it the names of federal presented a story written in courts, a federal judge, and a FBI inverted-pyramid style but agent didn’t improve that credibility. lacking any association with a news organization or particular author, they reported that they believed in and trusted in the information there. While the use of anonymous sources harms the credibility of news, providing extensive details about the source didn’t improve credibility.
Discussion: Future research? Are certain types of Other types info effected more? of source documents? How much source information is Who chooses to needed to be read source credible? documents? Why/when does Is the way news the news provide credibility is judged source changing among documents? young people?