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Effects of User Control and Perceived Message Tailoring on Responses to a Health Web Site
Unformatted Document Text:  7 When we analyzed the data there were no interaction effects among the four experimental groups, so we concentrated on main effects. We conducted two analyses that included all 117 participants, one comparing participants who had No user control vs. User control, and one comparing those who received messages that were Non-tailored vs. Tailored (responding to questions about stress or not about stress before reading the stress management content). Participants in each group numbered: • No user control (n = 58), User control (n=59), Total = 117 • No message tailoring (n = 56), message tailoring (n=61), Total = 117 After spending ten minutes reading the content on the web site, study participants typed in their answers to two open-ended questions: “What do you like about the web site?” and “How would you improve the web site?” Three researchers coded the open-ended answers participants gave to both questions, to identify every topic that participants mentioned and to identify for each participant and each topic a quantitative rating score ranging from –2 to 2, with “-2” = “Very negative,” “-1” = “Negative,” “0” = “Did not mention,” “1” = “Positive,” and “2” = “Very positive.” Three researchers coded the answers independently, and an inter-coder reliability score was computed for each variable. All the variables yielded an inter-coder reliability score greater than .70, and the ratings assigned by each coder were averaged into a single score for each participant on each variable. In addition to responding to the open-ended questions, participants rated two quantitative items that checked for perceived message tailoring. They rated on a scale of 1-7, with “1” being “Strongly disagree” and “7” being “Strongly agree,” the following statements: “The health information I received was based on my answers to the questions that appeared at the beginning of the web site,” and “The web site gave me specific health information, selected especially for me.” The two items had a reliability score of alpha=.86, and were combined into a scale measuring perceived message tailoring. Data analysis involved conducting t-tests to identify differences between the No user control and the User control groups, and between the Non-tailored and Tailored groups, on hypothesized outcomes. Findings The topics mentioned by participants in the open-ended responses, without any prompting from the researchers, were: • Amount of information (Comments complaining about “not enough information” were coded as a negative number, -1 or –2, and comments complaining about “too much information” were coded as a positive number, 1 or 2.) • Examples: “Put more detail and descriptive info.” “Give more ways to deal with the stress or how to get rid of it.” “Elaborate more on some of the issues.” “I would make it shorter.” “The information should be condensed.” • Number of graphics (Comments complaining about “not enough graphics” were coded as a negative number, -1 or –2, and comments complaining about “too many graphics” were coded as a positive number, 1 or 2.

Authors: Lieberman, Debra., Lingsweiler, Ryan., Yao, Mike. and Chesler, Zachary.
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7
When we analyzed the data there were no interaction effects among the four experimental groups, so we
concentrated on main effects. We conducted two analyses that included all 117 participants, one
comparing participants who had No user control vs. User control, and one comparing those who received
messages that were Non-tailored vs. Tailored (responding to questions about stress or not about stress
before reading the stress management content). Participants in each group numbered:
No user control (n = 58), User control (n=59), Total = 117
No message tailoring (n = 56), message tailoring (n=61), Total = 117

After spending ten minutes reading the content on the web site, study participants typed in their answers
to two open-ended questions: “What do you like about the web site?” and “How would you improve the
web site?” Three researchers coded the open-ended answers participants gave to both questions, to
identify every topic that participants mentioned and to identify for each participant and each topic a
quantitative rating score ranging from –2 to 2, with “-2” = “Very negative,” “-1” = “Negative,” “0” =
“Did not mention,” “1” = “Positive,” and “2” = “Very positive.”

Three researchers coded the answers independently, and an inter-coder reliability score was computed for
each variable. All the variables yielded an inter-coder reliability score greater than .70, and the ratings
assigned by each coder were averaged into a single score for each participant on each variable.

In addition to responding to the open-ended questions, participants rated two quantitative items that
checked for perceived message tailoring. They rated on a scale of 1-7, with “1” being “Strongly
disagree” and “7” being “Strongly agree,” the following statements: “The health information I received
was based on my answers to the questions that appeared at the beginning of the web site,” and “The web
site gave me specific health information, selected especially for me.” The two items had a reliability
score of alpha=.86, and were combined into a scale measuring perceived message tailoring.

Data analysis involved conducting t-tests to identify differences between the No user control and the User
control groups, and between the Non-tailored and Tailored groups, on hypothesized outcomes.
Findings

The topics mentioned by participants in the open-ended responses, without any prompting from the
researchers, were:
Amount of information (Comments complaining about “not enough information” were coded as a
negative number, -1 or –2, and comments complaining about “too much information” were coded
as a positive number, 1 or 2.)
Examples: “Put more detail and descriptive info.” “Give more ways to deal with the
stress or how to get rid of it.” “Elaborate more on some of the issues.” “I would make it
shorter.” “The information should be condensed.”
Number of graphics (Comments complaining about “not enough graphics” were coded as a
negative number, -1 or –2, and comments complaining about “too many graphics” were coded as
a positive number, 1 or 2.


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