Research Articles (Stellenbosch University Language Centre)

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    The story against smoking : an exploratory study into the processing and perceived effectiveness of narrative visual smoking warnings
    (SAGE Publications, 2019-08) Ooms, Joelle A; Jansen, Carel J. M.; Hoeks, John C. J.
    Objectives: This study compared the effects of two types of health warnings on cigarette packages: ‘narrative visual warnings’, showing an image portraying people plus a corresponding slogan that could evoke a story-like interpretation, and ‘non-narrative visual warnings’ with non-narrative content (i.e. body parts). Moreover, the mechanisms underlying the effects of these health warnings were explored. Design: A within-participants experiment was conducted comparing narrative and non-narrative visual warnings. Path analyses were performed to investigate the relationship between the narrative concepts transportation and identification, the emotions evoked by the health warning and the perceived effectiveness of the message. Method: Participants (N = 200) were presented with one narrative warning and one non-narrative warning. After each warning, they answered questions on narrative perception, transportation, identification, emotions and perceived effectiveness. Results: The narrative warnings were seen as more story-like than the non-narrative warnings. There was a statistical trend for narrative warnings to be perceived as more effective than the non-narratives. The narrative warnings caused more transportation, fear, sadness, compassion and anger; the non-narrative warnings evoked more disgust and surprise. For the narrative warnings, both narrative concepts of transportation and identification were directly related to perceived effectiveness, and also indirectly via sadness. For the non-narrative warnings, transportation was related to perceived effectiveness, both directly and indirectly via disgust. Conclusion: Seeing a story in a still picture with a slogan helps to increase the effectiveness of the antismoking message. Both narrative and non-narrative visual warnings may persuade receivers directly, but also by the evoking of emotions, although the specific emotions responsible for the persuasive effects may differ.
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    Hey, that could be me : the role of similarity in narrative persuasion
    (Public Library of Science, 2019) Ooms, Joelle; Hoeks, John; Jansen, Carel
    Stories are often used in health communication because of accumulating evidence of their potential to affect people’s attitudes and health behavioral intentions. Similarity between the reader and the story’s protagonist appears to positively influence narrative persuasion, but the exact role of similarity on persuasive outcomes is debated, as some research finds clear effects of similarity manipulations whereas others do not. Possibly, these mixed results were found because the similarity manipulations were not always relevant to the topic of the story. We conducted an experiment (N = 582) in which we varied the age and gender of the protagonist, features that were of central relevance to the story’s topic, namely breast cancer versus testicular cancer. There were two groups of participants: 324 students (mean age: 21.46 years) and 258 older adults (mean age: 56.83 years). Age similarity (but not gender similarity) had an effect on identification with the protagonist, transportation (i.e. the experience of being absorbed into a story), and the intention to donate, but only for students. For older adults, age or gender of the protagonist did not seem to matter, as nearly no differences in persuasive measures were found. As far as the underlying mechanism is concerned, the results of structural equation modeling showed that the concept of ‘perceived similarity’ would be a relevant addition to models of narrative persuasion, as it was significantly related to the narrative processes of transportation and identification, which, in turn, predicted attitudes and behavioral intentions, both directly—in the case of transportation—or indirectly, via the emotion of compassion. We conclude that both manipulated and perceived similarity are important for narrative persuasion, and that it should be kept on the research agenda of health communication.
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    Using reflective pedagogy to improve writing consultant practice
    (Stellenbosch University, 2019-11-01) Januarie, Venita
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This research note considers the potential of reflective pedagogy as a means to improve writing consultants’ practice. Through the use of literature and reflective examples, I illustrate how reflective practice has enabled me to improve my pedagogy in the transition from being a novice writing consultant to becoming a senior consultant at the Stellenbosch University Writing Lab. Furthermore, I reflect on how writing consultants, as key agents in the writing centre space, can utilise reflective practice to leverage the potential of writing centres as transformative spaces in South African higher educational institutions.
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    Validating the performance standards set for language assessments of academic readiness : the case of Stellenbosch University
    (Stellenbosch University, 2019-09-12) Sebolai, Kabelo
    Twenty-five years into the post-apartheid period, South African universities still struggle to produce the number of graduates required for the country’s socio-economic development. The reason most often cited for this challenge is the mismatch that seems to exist between the knowledge that learners leave high school with, and the kind that academic education requires them to possess for success. This gap, also known as the “articulation gap”, has been attributed to, amongst others, the levels of academic language ability among arriving students. The school-leaving English examination, and a pre-university test of academic literacy are the commonly used measures to determine these levels. The aim of this article is to investigate whether predetermined standards of performance on these assessments relate positively with academic performance. In order to determine this, Pearson Correlations and an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) were carried out on the scores obtained for these assessments by a total of 836 first-year students enrolled at Stellenbosch University. The results show that the performance standards set for the standardised test of academic literacy associate positively with first-year academic performance, while the scores on the levels of performance set for the school-leaving English examination do not.
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    Sweet temptations : how does reading a fotonovela about diabetes affect Dutch adults with different levels of literacy?
    (Routledge, 2019) Van T Jagt, Ruth Koops; Hoeks, John; Duizer, Evelien; Baron, Melvin; Molina, Gregory B.; Unger, Jennifer B.; Jansen, Carel
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Recent studies suggest that health-related fotonovelas—booklets that portray a dramatic story using photographs and captions—may be effective health communication tools, especially for readers with a low level of literacy. In this experiment, effects on knowledge and behavioral intentions were assessed of a fotonovela originally developed for a Latin-American audience. Dutch readers from a low literacy group (N = 89) and a high literacy group (N = 113) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: a fotonovela condition (all captions translated into Dutch), a traditional brochure condition (also in Dutch), and a control condition. On knowledge about diabetes, participants in the fotonovela condition outperformed participants in both other conditions. This finding was consistent across literacy levels. On behavioral intentions, however, readers of the fotonovela did not score significantly higher than participants in the other conditions. We also evaluated hypotheses proposed in the Entertainment Overcoming Resistance Model (EORM; Moyer-Gusé, 2008) on the possible mechanisms underlying persuasion through narratives. No support was found for the mechanisms proposed in the EORM. The outcomes of this study suggest that a fotonovela may be a valuable health education format for adults with varying levels of literacy, even if it was developed for a target group with a different cultural background.