“Quote an Outside Female Scientist” - A Science Press Release Experiment

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The following is a research paper presentation for Experimental Methods at Louisiana State University. All research is based on an IRB-approved survey experiment conducted by Paige Brown in Spring 2014. Please contact Paige for more details. Update: Gender of the survey taker was controlled for in statistical analyses describing the effects of gender in the press release.

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“Quote an Outside Female Scientist” - A Science Press Release Experiment

  1. 1. DonStalons,CDC.gov
  2. 2. Image: Nature feature http://www.nature.com/news/specials/sciencejournalism/index.html What’s wrong with this picture? (Hint* Women in science?!)
  3. 3. Control Conflict/Controversy news factor Reliability of facts news factor “This survey concerns an interest in how science journalists use a variety of news factors in their selection of potential science news stories… “This survey concerns an interest in how science journalists use conflict or controversy as criteria in their selection of potential science news stories. [description of conflict / controversy] Part I of this survey revealed that on average, science journalists rated conflict or controversy as an important criterion of newsworthiness in their selection and production of potential science news stories […] rated this news factor 8.0 on an 11-point scale… This survey concerns an interest in how science journalists use reliability of factual information as a criterion in their selection of potential science news stories. [description of reliability of facts] Part I of this survey revealed that on average, science journalists rated reliability of factual information as an important criterion in their selection and production of potential science news stories. […] rated this news factor 9.9 on an 11-point scale… 1. News Factor Priming condition (random assignment) 2. Press Release on a Scientific Study (independent random assignment) Confirming quote (female) Confirming quote (male) Disconfirming quote (female) Disconfirming quote (male) 3. Survey Questions: How newsworthy was the press release?
  4. 4. Male Condition Female Condition
  5. 5. Table 3. Based on your reading, on a scale of 0-10, how newsworthy is the story in the press release in terms of… Confirming Press Release Disconfirming Press Release Mean SD Mean SD Significance/Public Impact 7.99** 2.47 6.85 2.64 Meaningfulness/Relevance to readers 7.15* 2.60 6.25 2.61 Novelty/Unexpectedness 7.40 2.42 7.01 2.40 Currency 8.23** 2.46 7.17 2.77 Conflict/Controversy 3.94 2.53 5.08** 2.50 Unambiguity 6.36* 2.64 5.49 2.44 Reliability of Facts 7.47** 2.20 6.65 2.36 Human Interest 6.92** 2.90 5.78 2.90 Note: *p < .05; **p < .01
  6. 6. Table 4 – Post-Hoc comparisons for press release stimulus condition based on gender of quoted outside source. Confirming Female Confirming Male Disconfirming Female Disconfirming Male Univariate F Partial eta2 Likelihood1 1.96 .027 M 6.11a 5.28ab 4.84b 4.80b S.E. .42 .41 .46 .45 Likelihood2 1.04 .015 M 5.52a 4.71a 4.53a 4.86a S.E. .42 .41 .45 .45 Likelihood3 1.21 .017 M 6.52a 6.28a 5.62a 6.16a S.E. .33 .32 .36 .35 Likelihood4 .25 .02 M 6.94a 7.15a 6.41a 6.27a S.E. .35 .34 .37 .37 Multivariate: Wilk’s lamda = .937, F(12, 548) = 1.14, p > .05, Partial Eta Squared = .022 Means with different lowercase subscripts are significantly different from one another, p < .05 (no adjustment for multiple comparisons).

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