Does the production value of a short science video hosted on YouTube influence how much the desired audience is likely to enjoy and engage with it?
Young, Lana Joy
This thesis continues the research of Welbourne and Grant (2016) within the field of science communication on YouTube, by following the study that Figueiredo, Almeida, & Benevenuto designed to evaluate whether content factors determine YouTube video popularity (2014). This study experimentally evaluates whether the production value of a short science video hosted on YouTube influences how much the desired audience is likely to enjoy and engage with it. Science communication is an increasingly significant area of research and practice, relevant to all aspects of science and technology. Scientists are increasingly expected to publicly share their work with the public, therefore it is important to understand the best ways to get these messages to their target audience. YouTube, the most popular video-sharing network, was created as a user-generated social network, however in recent years professional organisations have been able to contribute too. Resultingly, there is a divergent style differentiation between professionally generated content (PGC), and user generated content (UGC). In this study, two near-identical pairs of videos consistent with the science communication genre were created to imitate PGC and UGC YouTube channels respectively. A survey (n=900) was conducted on Amazon Mechanical Turk where participants were asked to watch one PGC and one UGC video, and report on which video they enjoyed, would share, predicted would be more popular and found more reliable. They were asked which channel they would like to watch again. A Pearson’s chi2 test found statistically significant preference to enjoyability and shareability for the UGC videos, but no preference between production value for predicted popularity. Surprisingly, participants opted to watch a PGC in the future, despite the overall preference to UGC. This study directs specific attention into the rapidly-expanding landscape of online video, and its relevance to videographic content creators within the realm of science communication.
Advisor: Medvecky, Fabien
Degree Name: Master of Science Communication
Degree Discipline: Centre for Science Communication
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: science communication; predicted popularity; youtube; science; video; production value; filmmaking; documentary filmmaking; ugc; pgc; user generated content; professionally generated content
Research Type: Thesis