Multivariate Study of Online Engagement
Posted on June 1, 2016; Last updated on September 20, 2017
A significant portion of activism on behalf of animals plays out online with individuals reached directly, such as through advertisements, or indirectly by way of friends on social media. Web sites and video documentaries advocating a more compassionate diet are typically employed to facilitate such outreach. In this series of studies, we will take a comprehensive look into the etiology and patterns of online engagement as a result of online approaches to animal advocacy.
A central component of our methodology uses Facebook ads to direct users to one of multiple variants of a documentary video on the ethical, environmental and health-based motivations for eating fewer animal products. The goal is to measure the correlations between the type and intensity of online engagement and the determinative features of the video variants, the viewers and the ads. This series of studies will not rely on self-reported intentions or behaviors but is instead focused on measuring observable phenomena of relevance to effective online activism. For example, by recording data on when a user pauses, skips or plays a video, this behavior can be correlated with the content of the video, the demographics of the user and the patterns of the user's interaction with the website.
The video documentary, the hosting site and the details of the research protocol are currently in development. After a period of exploratory research and hypothesis generation, we are planning pre-registered confirmatory studies with pre-declared research protocols.