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Responding to Activism: An Experimental Analysis of Public Relations Strategy Influence on Beliefs, Attitudes, and Behavioral Intentions
Unformatted Document Text:  Responding to Activism (ICA-15-11621) 11 Research Participants Research participants were recruited from a population of undergraduate students enrolled in an introductory mass communication class at a large Southeastern university. Students received extra credit for participating in this research. The responses of 173 participants were included in data analysis. Of these participants, 44 were male and 129 were female. The average age of participants was 21. Procedures Participants attended one of two research sessions held in a large classroom on campus. After arriving at the classroom, each participant was randomly assigned to one of nine different conditions resulting from a 1x9 factorial. Variation in conditions was achieved through the use of booklets containing various stimulus materials and an instrument designed to measure the variables of interest. At the beginning of each booklet, subjects were provided instructions that included the purpose of the experiment, a brief background statement on the PETA vs. McDonald’s case, and a warning that the images in the booklet contained unsettling depictions of slaughtered animals. To fulfill Institutional Review Board requirements, subjects were given an opportunity to decline participation if they did not wish to view the material. No subject declined participation. Stimulus Material To achieve a 1x9 factorial, eight treatment conditions and one control condition were created. Stimulus material used for the eight treatments included a series of four messages used in PETA’s activist campaign against McDonald’s. The messages were created by PETA and downloaded from PETA’s official Web site (http://www.peta.org/) for use in this research. Subjects were exposed to each PETA message individually (one message per page) and asked to spend approximately 15 seconds viewing the message. The four anti-McDonald’s messages from PETA are shown in Appendix B. Following the four anti-McDonald’s messages from PETA, subjects in the eight treatments were exposed to one of eight different messages from McDonald’s. Seven McDonald’s response messages were created using the public relations strategy definitions discussed in the literature review. An eighth McDonald’s message unrelated to PETA’s activist campaign was created to control for strategy type. All messages featured identical black-and-white images and contained 17 lines of text and 79-81 words. An example of the format used for the McDonald’s response messages is provided in Appendix B. A ninth condition that contained no PETA messages and no McDonald’s message was created as an overall control condition. All nine conditions contained the same instrument used to measure the variables of interest. Twenty booklets were created for each of the nine conditions. A total of 180 booklets were randomly distributed to subjects.

Authors: Page, Kelly.
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Responding to Activism (ICA-15-11621)
11
Research Participants
Research participants were recruited from a population of undergraduate students enrolled in an
introductory mass communication class at a large Southeastern university. Students received extra credit
for participating in this research. The responses of 173 participants were included in data analysis. Of
these participants, 44 were male and 129 were female. The average age of participants was 21.
Procedures
Participants attended one of two research sessions held in a large classroom on campus. After arriving
at the classroom, each participant was randomly assigned to one of nine different conditions resulting
from a 1x9 factorial. Variation in conditions was achieved through the use of booklets containing various
stimulus materials and an instrument designed to measure the variables of interest.
At the beginning of each booklet, subjects were provided instructions that included the purpose of the
experiment, a brief background statement on the PETA vs. McDonald’s case, and a warning that the
images in the booklet contained unsettling depictions of slaughtered animals. To fulfill Institutional
Review Board requirements, subjects were given an opportunity to decline participation if they did not
wish to view the material. No subject declined participation.
Stimulus Material
To achieve a 1x9 factorial, eight treatment conditions and one control condition were created.
Stimulus material used for the eight treatments included a series of four messages used in PETA’s activist
campaign against McDonald’s. The messages were created by PETA and downloaded from PETA’s
official Web site (http://www.peta.org/) for use in this research. Subjects were exposed to each PETA
message individually (one message per page) and asked to spend approximately 15 seconds viewing the
message. The four anti-McDonald’s messages from PETA are shown in Appendix B.
Following the four anti-McDonald’s messages from PETA, subjects in the eight treatments were
exposed to one of eight different messages from McDonald’s. Seven McDonald’s response messages
were created using the public relations strategy definitions discussed in the literature review. An eighth
McDonald’s message unrelated to PETA’s activist campaign was created to control for strategy type. All
messages featured identical black-and-white images and contained 17 lines of text and 79-81 words. An
example of the format used for the McDonald’s response messages is provided in Appendix B.
A ninth condition that contained no PETA messages and no McDonald’s message was created as an
overall control condition. All nine conditions contained the same instrument used to measure the variables
of interest. Twenty booklets were created for each of the nine conditions. A total of 180 booklets were
randomly distributed to subjects.


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