Message sidedness, including its later format inoculation, and conclusion explicitness have been identified by researchers as two prominent message factors that may influence advocating effects. Two-sided messages, which contain both supporting and opposing information about the issue, particularly those containing inoculation components that refute the negative side, are found to be more effective than one-sided messages. Messages with explicit conclusions are also found to be more persuasive than those that let the audience draw the conclusions themselves. This study tested the persuasion effectiveness of message inoculation and conclusion explicitness on a new scientific concept, the water–energy–food (WEF) nexus, of which the public has little knowledge. This study used five randomly assigned groups (total N = 524) and found that messages with explicit conclusions are more persuasive than those with implicit conclusions; however, it found no difference between the effectiveness of one-sided messages and of refutational two-sided messages. The study suggests that a clear conclusion is necessary to communicate the WEF nexus for a better approach to managing the megacrisis of water, energy, and food security.



Author ORCID Identifier

Qingjiang (Q, J.) Yao 0000-0002-0550-4211