Embedding a Wiki Platform Within a Traditional Survey: A Novel Approach to Assess Perceived Argument Strength in Communication Research

Jeff Niederdeppe, Daniel A. Gundersen, Andy S. L. Tan, Emma E. McGinty, Colleen L. Barry


Several prominent theories predict that argument strength plays an important role in message processing and effects. Traditional strategies to measure perceived argument strength have limitations in responsivity to emerging arguments in public discourse. This article examines the utility of a survey-embedded wiki platform (wiki survey) to identify strong and weak arguments in dynamic information environments. Participants completed two wiki surveys, embedded within a larger survey of U.S. adults (N = 1,506), asking them to choose between randomly selected pairs of arguments related to marijuana legalization or to add new arguments to the item pools. The method identified 32 novel, user-generated arguments, over and above an original set of 26 arguments identified by study authors through a review of the literature and a content analysis of news media coverage on the topic. The wiki survey also produced variation in perceived strength of arguments among relevant demographic and social groups.


elaboration likelihood model, competitive framing theory, message effects, persuasion, health communication, public opinion

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