Påverka av kommentarfeltet? : ei kvasieksperimentell tilnærming til kommentarfeltets innverknad på persepsjonen av eit nyheitsemne
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This master thesis aims to be a contribution to gain a broader understanding of people's political discussion on the Internet, and primarily the effects it has on those who read the comments. I have therefore taken a closer look at how the online debate can influence the perception of a news article. Previous research has had a particularly strong focus on whether or not these online debates promote or hinder democratic values. This has inspired me to take a closer look at how the comment fields’ tone can affect the readers’ perception, and whether it can affect the perception of a news topic. The overriding issue therefore sounds as follows: In what way can a comment field’s degree of incivility affect the readers' perception of a news article? In a quasi-experimental design, I exposed 545 respondents divided into two groups for the same news topic, but different comment fields: one with a rude- and one with a polite tone towards the news articles’ content, and analyzed how the degree of incivility affects the respondents’ perception. The results shows that the respondents has clear opinions of comment fields in general, and seems to perceive online debates as an arena with a low level of seriousness. As far as the effect on the respondents’ perception, it still seems like the comment fields’ degree of incivility affects the groups’ perception of the news articles content differently.