Date of Award

7-29-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Communications Media

First Advisor

B. Gail Wilson, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Mark Piwinsky, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jay Start, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study sought to understand the effectiveness of compliance-gaining appeals when used in online political videos. Current literature, while addressing what types of compliance-gaining techniques individuals would use in differing situations, calls for but is devoid of empirical research that delves further into understanding appeal impact. A survey was established that consisted of constructed embedded videos that utilized content analysis for developmental guidance of message information, issue types, and appeal types. Findings indicate that the most utilized appeals in the content analysis of existing political video, moral appeals and promises, were not effective. Altruistic appeals were found to be persuasive to viewers. Of demographic variables, gender and political party were not significantly different in terms of persuadability, however, age group and education were. The study concludes that results are highly individualized and contextualized, where selective process and cognitive dissonance existed for some respondents while others were more open to the messages. The implications of the study are geared towards message designers as well as the voting public, as the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of compliance-gaining appeals may be critical to message outcomes. Suggestions for future research include a more robust version of this project, as well as deeper analysis of demographic variables, and investigating appeals that are not currently used in message design practice.

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