The effects of quality of evidence communication on perception of public health information about COVID-19: two randomised controlled trials
Background: The quality of evidence about the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical health interventions is often low, but little is known about the effects of communicating indications of evidence quality to the public. Methods: In two blinded, randomised, controlled, online experiments, US participants (total n=2140) were shown one of several versions of an infographic illustrating the effectiveness of eye protection in reducing COVID-19 transmission. Their trust in the information, understanding, feelings of effectiveness of eye protection, and the likelihood of them adopting it were measured. Findings: Compared to those given no quality cues, participants who were told the quality of the evidence on eye protection was "low", rated the evidence less trustworthy (p=.001), and rated it as subjectively less effective (p=.020). The same effects emerged compared to those who were told the quality of the evidence was "high", and in one of the two studies, those shown "low" quality of evidence said they were less likely to use eye protection (p=.005). Participants who were told the quality of the evidence was "high" showed no significant differences on these measures compared to those given no information about evidence quality. Interpretation: Without quality of evidence cues, participants responded to the evidence about the public health intervention as if it was high quality and this affected their subjective perceptions of its efficacy and trust in the provided information. This raises the ethical dilemma of weighing the importance of transparently stating when the evidence base is actually low quality against evidence that providing such information can decrease trust, perception of intervention efficacy, and likelihood of adopting it.
- Downloaded 305 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 104,808
- In public and global health: 1,378
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: 24,894
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: 26,384
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 27 Nov 2020: The website and API now include results pulled from medRxiv as well as bioRxiv.
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!