Athens, OH – Dr. Vic Matta, an associate professor at Ohio University’s College of Business, presented at the SMART Dialogue series March 20. The presentation focused on one of his research areas, online feedback systems.

Dr. Matta presented “The Poison Pill of Negative Online Reviews: A Study of Argument Quality and Grammatical Correctness.” He discussed the Elaboration Likelihood Model, a theory used as a framework in the study, which claims that there are two routes to persuasion: the central route (logical) and the peripheral route (fear, desire). Using this model, the study aimed to understand the relationship between the grammar and argument quality of negative online reviews and purchase intention.

The study found that overall, a review with high quality grammar did not significantly affect purchase intention. The key takeaways from the results, Dr. Matta discussed, are that good grammar does not make up for poor argument quality, and that brands should focus on reviews with high quality arguments regardless of grammar. He also found that even non-expert reviewers and readers can tell the difference between and good and bad argument. Another key takeaway from the study is that usefulness of information increases adoption.

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By Alayna Hutchinson