In this study, the authors’ results about a lack of correlation between the attitude to the topic and credibility seem to be surprising. It would be more reasonable to reveal that the participants put trust in the speaker who attracts their attention. As a rule, people who evoke the trust of the audience are also likely to be persuasive from the point of the viewers. In this regard, it is possible to suggest that this connection should be explored in future research.
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The methods used by the authors can be considered appropriate since the sample size is adequate, while the control and experiment videos are provided. In addition, the statistical method of analysis allowed for integrating all the variables and achieving accurate results based on the data collected from participants.
In general, the quantitative method used by the authors is beneficial to analyze the problem of speech persuasiveness. Among the strong points of this method, there are information reliability and generalization opportunity. However, one may suggest that the study by Scherer and Sagarin has the bias related to the participants and the topic chosen for the persuasive speech to indicate the role of swearing (143). It is evident that students are always interested in reducing tuition fees, which makes their responses prone to subjectivity. It would be better if another controversial theme of the opioid crisis or gun control was chosen.
Plans for Follow-Up Study
As the continuation of the original study, it is beneficial to focus on students as the target audience. Since the political discourse presents the opportunity to convince people in changes, it seems advantageous to build a follow-up study on the students specializing in political science. The sample size is to be approximately 150 persons, who must receive informed consent forms before being surveyed. The latter as well as the voluntary participation in research would ensure ethics. To make the new study broader, it may be useful to contact at least three educational institutions and ask them to contribute to the follow-up study.
It is important to understand how the number of obscenity words affects speech credibility and persuasiveness from the perspective of viewers. More to the point, the comparison between pro-attitudinal and counter-attitudinal speeches is likely to help in understanding the problem better. In this connection, it can be encouraging to compose two different groups and offer them the same video with some changes. The first group members would receive three videos based on pro-attitudinal speech with one, three, and five swear words, respectively. The second group of participants will be given the same number of words in videos, but their connotations will be counter-attitudinal. The words “damn” and “shit” will be used as the key swear words to be explored.
The three surveys on the political views of students, their attitude towards the speaker, and their speech perception will be conducted to collect data from participants. To control the bias, the topic of the speech should be out of the participants’ interests, or they should be assigned to the groups according to the systematic sampling. The consideration of the alternative explanations of findings would also contribute to maintaining objectivity.
The analysis of data should be based on detecting the positive correlation between the greater number of swear words and the levels of persuasiveness, yet not credibility. The latter can also be explored as a part of the different research, but it is better to study them gradually. Another analysis goal is to find that counter-attitudinal speech containing swear words is more persuasive to the participants compared to pro-attitudinal speech in terms of the same topic.
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Scherer, Cory R., and Brad J. Sagarin. “Indecent Influence: The Positive Effects of Obscenity on Persuasion.” Social Influence, vol. 1, no. 2, 2006, pp. 138-146.