ERIC Number: ED332227
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
The Impact of Persona on the Success of Written Arguments.
Hill, Charles A.
In a study, 52 first-year college students were asked to complete questionnaires about their attitudes about legalizing drugs. The students were to offer persona judgments about hypothetical authors arguing for and against legalization. Next, the participants were assigned to read and evaluate essays for and against legalization, and then were to offer persona judgments of the essay writers. Slightly over half of participants held anti-legalization attitudes. Mean ratings of argumentative essays were slightly but not significantly higher for the essay that argued against legalization. Overall, the hypothetical "pro" author was not liked nearly as much as the hypothetical "con" author. Interestingly, readers who supported legalization liked the "con" author as much as the "pro" author. In general, readers liked the pro-legalization essay better than they thought they would, and there was no significant difference in liking for the two essay authors among pro-legalization students. Correlations basically supported the notion that attitude, persona judgments, and argument evaluations are all related in complex ways, with attitude being an especially strong factor. Results highlight the difficulty of determining how individual readers will react to broad, editorial-style arguments addressed to a large portion of the population. (Three figures and four tables are included.) (SG)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Drugs; Purpose (Composition); Voice (Rhetoric)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (42nd, Boston, MA, March 21-23, 1991).