WHAT IS DONE
· Formulated research questions with the objective of having a better understanding of a particular discussion community
· Built a theoretical model which is grounded on a cognitive psychology theory called Elaboration Likelihood Model
· Designed a Mixed-Methods approach that has Qualitative and Quantitative components to test the research model, which includes a qualitative and quantitative study
o Qualitative study is a content analysis that entails categorizing the social media posts
o Quantitative study is a survey methodology to test the theoretical model, which incorporates the Qualitative Study
Web 2.0 and social media allows more people to be connected while paradoxically leading to more polarization. The polarization and echo chamber problems pose a threat to humanity (Howell, 2013), showing a need to design a healthy social ecosystem in the digital space. Online environments fostering good faith discussions and diverse opinions could satisfy this need, like ChangeMyView community of the Reddit platform. In this community, users (redditors) post their opinions (Opinion Poster or OP) and wait for other redditors to challenge opinions with different perspectives. If a redditor is successful, s/he wins a Delta, which is a reward system with a specific purpose. We study two phenomena in the ChangeMyView: challenger strategies to persuade the OP and the way the readers process the comments and change their view. Grounded on the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM), we build a theoretical model to analyze the OP’s information elaboration mechanisms and their effect on the view change. We design a mixed-methods research methodology that enables us to explore challengers’ persuasion strategies and incorporate these strategies into our theoretical model. We utilize content analysis in the qualitative study to perform coding on the challenger comments, and we incorporate these codes into our theoretical model and quantitative study. We expect our study to unravel the influence of a unique IT design artifact on the persuasion process. This study has theoretical implications due to the implementation of the ELM in an online discussion context. Additionally, our findings can present productive avenues for future social media design.
Keywords: Elaboration Likelihood Model, Persuasion, Online Discussion, Social Media, Paralinguistic Digital Affordances