Assignment 6.2: Restructuring a literature matrix

Purpose of the assignment

You will practice restructuring a literature matrix, making a text schema, and writing a short summary.

Subject matter

  • Section 6.2

Tasks

Health communication campaigns increasingly make use of stories, and for good reason. Various studies have shown that stories can positively influence people’s health-related behavior. From earlier research it is well known that transportation plays a key part in this: the story should grab readers in such a way that they forget the world around them, as it were. It has also become clear how important identification is for a story’s persuasiveness. Readers should be able to empathize with the story’s main character to such an extent that they share that character’s emotions.

Communication researchers are now looking at ways to increase transportation and identification, and hence the persuasive power of a story. One option is to present main characters as more or less sympathetic. However, empirical research into the effects of such similarity on transportation, identification and persuasion has produced mixed results, for reasons that so far have been unclear.

Based on four (fictitious) articles in which studies are reported into the effects of presenting the main characters in a story as more or less sympathetic, a literature matrix was created; see http://www.communicate.amsterdam/Literature_Matrix.pdf

In each of the studies two or three different versions of a story were used, and participants were asked to read one of these versions. After that, participants filled in a questionnaire including questions that measured the level of transportation and/or the level of identification they had experienced. 

  • Restructure the literature matrix in such a way that all information is organized along the lines of the effects that were studied: the level of transportation, the level of identification, or both the level of transportation and the level of identification.
  • Make a text schema including all information as presented in this restructured literature matrix.
  • Restructure the literature matrix in such a way that all information is organized along the lines of the main findings from the studies: differences in the level of transportation, no differences in the level of transportation, differences in the level of identification, no differences in the level of identification.
  • Make a text schema including all information as presented in this restructured literature matrix.
  • Write a direct, informative summary based on the second text schema you made.