The Ways of Words: The Impact of Word Choice on Information Engagement and Decision Making

by   Nimrod Dvir, et al.

Little research has explored how information engagement (IE), the degree to which individuals interact with and use information in a manner that manifests cognitively, behaviorally, and affectively. This study explored the impact of phrasing, specifically word choice, on IE and decision making. Synthesizing two theoretical models, User Engagement Theory UET and Information Behavior Theory IBT, a theoretical framework illustrating the impact of and relationships among the three IE dimensions of perception, participation, and perseverance was developed and hypotheses generated. The framework was empirically validated in a large-scale user study measuring how word choice impacts the dimensions of IE. The findings provide evidence that IE differs from other forms of engagement in that it is driven and fostered by the expression of the information itself, regardless of the information system used to view, interact with, and use the information. The findings suggest that phrasing can have a significant effect on the interpretation of and interaction with digital information, indicating the importance of expression of information, in particular word choice, on decision making and IE. The research contributes to the literature by identifying methods for assessment and improvement of IE and decision making with digital text.


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