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(vacature) PhD Position in Communication and Information Studies

The Radboud University of Nijmegen (The Netherlands) heeft een vacature voor een PhD'er:
Research proposal 
Scholars agree that for communication to have a strong and stable effect that is predictive of people's behaviour, strong arguments are needed. Although the number of studies documenting the importance of argument quality for the persuasion process is overwhelming, our understanding of argument quality remains a black box. In this project, two issues are addressed that are central to increase our understanding of what the active ingredients of argument quality are. 
The first issue pertains to what argument characteristics distinguish strong from weak arguments. Large numbers of empirical studies have investigated the persuasiveness of strong and weak arguments, but usually the manipulation of argument quality was based on the intuitions of individual researchers. This situation requires a systematic examination of existing empirical studies, in which the arguments from these studies are analysed using normative criteria from argumentation theory. The main research question in this first part is: What argument characteristics have made for strong and weak arguments in empirical studies? 
The second issue relates to the identification of strong arguments for a given, new claim. Knowledge about argument characteristics does not lead automatically to the generation and identification of strong arguments for message designers. It is therefore important to analyse and evaluate different methods for detecting strong arguments. The usability of the list of argument characteristics found in the first part is compared to other methods to detect strong arguments, such as the consultation of experts with relevant field knowledge. The sets of arguments generated are then tested among target audience members. The main question of the second part is: What is a valid method to detect strong arguments for specific claims and behaviours? 
As a PhD student you will participate in the research programme Professional Communication of the Centre for Language Studies. The aim of this programme is to develop and test models of the way in which message design characteristics influence the outcome of the persuasion process, both in the Dutch and in international contexts.
Sluitingsdatum: 01/06/2012

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