RAPID: Influencing Young Adults’ Science Engagement and Learning with COVID-19 Media Knowledge Gap Study #2 – Mask Wearing Messaging Study

Friday, July 30, 2021
Resource Type:
Research Case Study | Research | Research Products
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Websites, Mobile Apps, and Online Media
Adults | Administration/Leadership/Policymakers | General Public | Museum/ISE Professionals
Health and medicine
KQED, Inc., Texas Tech University, Eckerd College

This collaborative research project between KQED, a public media organization serving the San Francisco Bay Area, Texas Tech University and Rockman et al conducted research to study how best to provide effective COVID-19 science news and social media content for young adult audiences.

To start the work, four “Knowledge Gap” studies – Twitter Misinformation, Mask Wearing Messaging, Germ Knowledge and Conceptual Mapping – as well as social media testing were conducted to address our research question: How could COVID-19 coverage be designed to best inform, engage and educate millennials and younger audiences about the science of virus transmission and prevention?

In the Mask Wearing study, we examined the effectiveness of two messaging strategies -- scientific consensus messaging and infographic visuals -- that can be used to encourage mask-wearing and support for mask-wearing policies.

  1. The scientific consensus messaging had no significant effects on participants’ perceptions of consensus , their beliefs about the  effectiveness of mask-wearing for preventing the transmission of the disease, their risk perceptions of COVID-19 or their support for policies related to mask-wearing
  2. Participants who  saw the explanatory infographic were more likely to agree that there is a scientific consensus that mask-wearing is effective for preventing the transmission of COVID-19, regardless of a consensus message being present or not.
  3. Political party was found to be the strongest predictor of participants’ beliefs about COVID-19 risks, mask-wearing and policy support.
Funding Program: 
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Team Members

Sue Ellen McCannPrincipal Investigator
Sevda ErisSevda ErisCo-Principal Investigator
Asheley LandrumAsheley LandrumCo-Principal Investigator
Joanna K. HuxsterJoanna K. HuxsterContributor

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