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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Communicating research : internet users’ comprehension and perceptions of video abstracts in the social sciences Li, Alice


In recent years, there has been an increase in research exploring how people comprehend and perceive scientific research videos, also called video abstracts (VAs). However, research on the interactions with social science VAs is limited, resulting in missed opportunities to inform the design of social sciences VAs and enhance understanding of social science research. We conducted a randomized between-subjects experiment (N = 290) investigating the effect of social sciences VA presentation (slideshow and animation style videos) on comprehension and pre-and post-task topic perceptions (interest, knowledge, difficulty) of Amazon Mechanical Turk viewers. A pilot study tested the instruments of the main study. Results showed six findings: 1) There were comprehension differences between VAs; 2) There were no comprehension differences between slideshow and animation VAs; 3) A shorter video length and participants having a high school degree or less predicted higher comprehension scores; 4) There were pre-task topic differences between VAs; 5) Participants with graduate level degrees rated their pre-and post-task topic interest, topic knowledge, and topic difficulty higher; and 6) Participants self-reported knowledge gain differed from their actual comprehension scores. Since VAs with varying topics were selected from the YouTube channels of academic journals and were not fully controlled in designs, follow-up research is needed to manipulate the content and designs without affecting the cognitive processing of participants. Despite the limitations, researchers can consider designing shorter VAs to enhance comprehension.

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