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Department of Communication and Media Research Science Communication

New publication: Eyeing CRISPR on Wikipedia

CRISPR/Cas-based genome editing is a monumental leap in genetic engineering with considerable societal implications – but it is a complex procedure that is difficult to understand for non-scientists. Wikipedia has been shown to be an important source of information about scientific topics. But research on search, selection, and reception processes on Wikipedia is scarce. By means of eye tracking and survey data, this study by IKMZ scholars Sabrina Kessler, Niels Mede and Mike Schäfer investigates how users find information about genetic engineering and CRISPR on Wikipedia and what influences search behaviors and outcomes. Results indicate that participants looking for specific information about CRISPR searched shorter, visited fewer Wikipedia pages, and followed shorter and more straightforward search paths than participants looking for general information about genetic engineering. Moreover, prior knowledge and involvement affected users’ browsing behavior. Prior knowledge and search behavior influenced search outcomes.

Kessler, Sabrina H, Niels G. Mede & Mike S. Schäfer (2020): Eyeing CRISPR on Wikipedia. Using Eye Tracking to Assess what Lay Audiences Look for to Learn about CRISPR and Genetic Engineering. Environmental Communication. Online First. Link