What makes a text persuasive? Comparing students' and experts' conceptions of persuasiveness

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Students' conceptions of persuasion have rarely been considered in the existing persuasion literature. In addition, most studies of persuasion have employed contrived reading materials, rather than naturally occurring texts (e.g., unmodified newspapers or magazine articles). As such, the purpose of this study was to provide competent, undergraduate readers an opportunity to externalize their perceptions of persuasiveness, and to compare these studentdetermined conceptions of persuasion to those espoused by text-based persuasion and conceptual change experts. In addition, the conceptions of students and experts were compared with those advocated in the literature. The findings suggest substantive overlap between students' and experts' conceptions of persuasion. Specifically, participants' responses revealed that the type and form of supporting evidence as well as the affective nature of the text play important roles in persuasion. These findings are somewhat different than those found in the existing literature. Implications for research and practice are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-698
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Research
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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