The influence of statistical and narrative evidence on consumer search for additional product information
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The purpose of this 2 X 2, between-subjects experiment is to use the model of Information Search Process (ISP) to test the effects of two common message features used in electronic word-of-mouth: statistical valence (positive/negative) and narrative evidence (vivid/nonvivid). Statistical valence is defined as the positive or negative presence of numerical details provided about the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of consumers, in this case the number of stars assigned to individual online product reviews. For example, one out of five stars would be considered negative statistical evidence, and four out of five stars would be considered positive statistical evidence. Statistical valence will be operationalized in terms of tone (positive or negative). Narrative evidence is defined as opinion statements provided by consumers about product experiences. There are two levels of narrative evidence: vivid and nonvivid. Vivid is defined as “information that’s emotionally interesting, concrete, and imagery provoking, proximate in a sensory, temporal, or spatial way” (Nisbett & Ross, 1980, p. 45). The single dependent variable, information search, is defined as a process of sense-making, in which an individual is forming a personal point of view and actively attempting to find meaning by seeking out various and multiple sources of information, both formal and informal (Dervin, 1983; Kuhlthau, 1991). Theoretical and practical implications will be discussed.