Who & When
||Prof. Dr. M.F. Steehouder (University of Twente)
||Mr E Saal (PhD)
Prof C Jansen (Nijmegen University)
Prof H Hoeken (Nijmegen University)
Prof P H Swanepoel (Unisa, Pretoria)
Students from participating universities
Prof M.F. Steehouder (University of Twente)
Prof. L. de Stadler (University of Stellenbosch)
|Date of completion:
HIV/AIDS messages are often aimed at young, sexually active people.
For the kind of behaviour the documents are aimed to modify, peer group pressure plays an important role. The effectiveness of these messages may improve if the arguments are put forward by an influential peer.
Evoking a credible peer may be done by using photographs and qualifications.
Another possibility is the kind of language used in the message. This use of
language may resemble the style of the target group, thereby creating the
feeling that it is "one of ours" who is talking to them.
- Which kind of sources [ author roles] are used in South African health communication?
- Which kind of language is used in South African health communication?
- To what extent do the different target groups consider peers as influential sources with respect to safe sex? (Related to this: Which peers are regarded as influential by the different target groups?)
- Which language characteristics 'create' attractive credible peer-authors in written documents?
- Which kind of reader personas are used in South African health communication?
- How effective is it when readers are addressed as peers?
- How important is it to create a reader persona that corresponds with , i.e. is highly similar to, the real target group of the documents?
- Which linguistic and rhetorical strategies create an attractive reader role for the target group?
- Do different target groups respond differently to different (peer) sources and different use of language?
Source credibility has been widely researched especially in the field of
communication and social psychology. There is overwhelming support in literature
for the premise that the characteristics of the source can have significant
persuasive impact on the receiver of the message. Especially research in the
context of dual-process models (Heuristic-Systematic Model, Chaiken 1987;
Elaboration Likelihood Model, Petty & Cacioppo 1986), has often manipulated
source characteristics to study the persuasion process.
However, most of these
studies have manipulated the source's credibility by providing information about
its qualifications and experience, thereby influencing the source's expertise.
Much less research has been directed towards the effect of a source's similarity
to the target audience. O'Keefe (1990:151) concludes that the effects of
similarity on persuasive outcomes are complex and indirect, and no single easy
generalization will encompass those varied effects.
Apart from studying how source similarity may influence the persuasiveness in
the context of HIV/AIDS prevention messages for the different target groups,
this project also deals with the question how the language use in the messages
may influence the perception of source similarity. The accommodation theory
(Giles 1973) predicts that a source who adapts his or her language use to that
of the receiver, is perceived as "one of us" by those receivers. This theory has
been tested almost exclusively in interpersonal communications; in this project
we try to extend this theory to document-mediated communication as well. If the
target audience expects to be addressed in a certain style, and these
expectations are not confirmed, these breaches of expectations may influence the
perceived source's credibility and similarity (Bradac, Bowers & Courtright 1980;
Burgoon & Miller 1985).
- Literature study
- Corpus analysis
- Focus group, using participatory techniques, interviews and questionnaires (to be developed in co-operation with Dr H Boer and Prof A Carstens)
- Experiments with different text versions
January 2003 - December 2003
Literature review, corpus compilation and analysing of existing HIV/AIDS public
information documents to identify the different sources and type of language
January 2004- December 2004
Experimental research: designing different text versions on the basis of
research and best practices, testing these text versions in different cultural
January 2005- December 2006
Research findings and developing of theory-based heuristics for the use of
credible sources in HIV/AIDS public information documents
Expected main findings:
Guidelines for the interaction between (adolescent) peers as credible sources
and variables in HIV/AIDS public information documents
Expected packaged results
- Research articles
- Workshop contributions