Critical Article Review
Various characteristics define purposeful and coherent research studies. However, not all papers satisfy the requisite conditions for being considered as accurate, reliable and dependable. From the abstract to the conclusion part, each section of a research paper serves a particular objective and should achieve its informative purpose satisfactorily. Based on this, a research can conduct critical literature reviews to evaluate and summarize texts in relation to the other texts on a similar subject. This essay presents a critical review of a paper by Chen, Kim, and Lin (2015) in which the authors studied the impacts of cognition and effect on the perceptions of the consumers based on different dimensions. During the study, the authors used many previous studies as the starting point of their study, some of which are critical as referents for evaluating the subject piece. This critical review questions the opinions presented in the paper and its format.
Critical Review of the Article by Chen et al. (2015)
The article begins with an informative abstract. It clearly elucidates the purposes of the study. The authors begin the abstract directly with a statement of the study purposes, which can help the readers to determine whether the study is relevant to their context. Following the statement of the research purposes, it clearly states the model used in the study would be a “2 (low vs. high purchase involvement) x 2 (hedonic vs. utilitarian product categories) x 2 (brand posts vs. consumer posts on Facebook)” (Chan et al. 2015, p. 208) frameworks. The abstract is well-structured as it not only mentions the purposes and the method, but it goes further to give a snapshot of the main findings and the conclusion drawn. Though short, the abstract satisfies the purpose of its creation as it draws the attention of the readers and their desire to know more. But it is not perfect. It does not highlight the recommendations. Hence, it requires a reader to go through the entire article to learn about the recommendations.
Just like in the abstract, the authors did a good job in the introduction part too. The introduction begins with a description of a short background to the research conducted. In the background, the authors highlight the perceptions that different authors have held on the influences of affective and cognitive aspects influencing consumers through social media. Through the background, one can clearly relate to the problem explained later in the introduction, which is the ambiguity presented by different arguments on the subject in question. According to Chen et al. (2015), the problem of focus is that through basing their research on various dimensions of consumer influence, different studies have found different results with reference to cognitive and affective elaborations. Some past studies such as the research conducted by Schulze et al. (2014) indicated that the affective elaboration was more influential of consumer behavior, while others such as Kempf (1999) reported that the cognitive elaborations were more influential. Chen et al. thus determine that the influences of the two elaborations depend on the dimensions in which they conducted this study.
The authors also provide three clear purposes in the introduction section which are to investigate the impacts of “affective and cognitive elaborations from the consumer attitude formation” (Chan et al. 2015, p. 208). A lucid research question and several hypotheses supported the research purposes well in this article. Based on the information provided in the introduction, one can argue that the authors based this research on a visionary ground and have the potential for achieving the purpose due to its coherence and congruence. The introduction also clearly justifies the research through comparison with various past literature reviews. For instance, Chen et al. (2015, p. 211) mention other authors such as Paek et al. (2011) who based their study on YouTube influence. Thus, the authors use this as a justification to base their own study on a different social networking site, Facebook. Furthermore, they also included researchers like van der Lans et al. (2010) and Lipsmann et al. (2012) who focus on electronic word-of-mouth and spread of likes respectively. These two articles provide a rationale for the application of different types of ad posts. Similarly, Schulze et al. (2014) reported that affective elaboration has a strong influence on consumer decisions for utilitarian products, contrary to the findings of Kempf (1999) that cognitive elaboration was strong for hedonic products. Chen et al. mention this contradiction and use it as a justification for using product type as one of the dimensions of influence.
Literature Review Section
The paper moves simply into the literature review from the introduction without any clarification of the starting point. Similarly, the authors use the review to derive the study hypotheses which they base their methodologies on. The manner in which the different sections of the paper draw the attention of the readers is exemplary and distinct from other studies conducted on the same subject. For instance, in the work by Schindler and Bickart (2012), the authors discuss various pieces of literature and use them to provide a conceptual framework for the actual study. The authors have, however, focused more on factors that influence the impacts of online reviews on consumer purchase behavior. The approach used by Chen et al. is somewhat similar to this in that it is from that place the authors deduced the hypotheses.
The authors use a combination of old and new pieces of literature. For instance, some of the reviewed literature dates back to the 1980s, while the more current ones are as recent as 2014. This may pose a challenge to the reader upon first impression in that some contexts require current articles as references. However, when reading through the section, the intention of the authors becomes clear as they use this balance of the new and old to bring to the fore the unswerving characteristics of consumer behavior. Moreover, most of the old pieces of literature provide information that is not only relevant but also matches what the newer articles provided. For instance, both Chatterjee (2011) and Hirschman and Holbrook (1982) found out that hedonic consumption was influenced more by the cognitive elaborations due to the functionality of products. As such, both articles come to an almost similar deduction that functionality plays a more crucial role in consumer influence than the emotions created through adverts. Similarly, an earlier research conducted by Engel et al. (1968) provides crucial information on consumer behavior that one can hardly ignore. As such, the authors maintained a perfect balance through their comparisons and deductions of the new-and-old literature.
While the literature review is relevant, balanced and provides sufficient information for backing up the study, the manner in which the authors describe the study gaps is limited in scope and application. The authors describe texts emphasizing different concepts and create the impression that the study is segmented. This makes it difficult to identify common gaps in all pieces as they focus on different dimensions. However, this also gives the impression that most of the studies do not consider several collaborative factors in influencing the consumer decisions. This is good since it makes the study by Chen et al. to appear more detailed and informative than the previous studies. Since every piece of literature intends to increase the dearth of the existing literature, it can be concluded that Chen et al. achieved this perfectly.
As in the previous sections, the methodologies also exemplify the kind of depth that is required in an extant piece of literature. It provides a detailed description of the study approach in that one can easily replicate it. It also informs the readers about the rationale to use the outlined method and the existing proof that the method works. In the study by Kim et al. (2012), as mentioned by Chen et al. (2015, p. 209), the study method used involved an online survey based on the messages of various consumer products. Given that the findings were reliable, the method can also be reliable. The authors describe the sample selection clearly as based on the mechanical Turk approach created by Amazon. While the authors do not clearly describe the details of the approach, they base their decision on the work of Paolacci, Chandler and Ipeirotis (2010). An evaluation of the description made by Paolacci et al. indicates that the approach is more reliable than conventional online surveys as it yields a higher response rate by paying the participants. Chen et al. experienced the same outcome in the study as the total number of usable survey responses was 258. But the authors have not reported the characteristics of the population sample and this could have influenced the outcome of the survey to some extent.
The authors clearly describe the data collection procedures, including the measures of evaluating various dimensions of the research objective. They define the measures of evaluating the affective elaborations, cognitive elaborations, the attitudes of the consumers towards the produced ads and the same towards the brand-related Facebook posts. In this way, they provide a basis upon which the research can analyze and present the results. As such, it is fair to conclude that the article clarifies the technical aspects of the methodologies by providing sufficient details. However, the authors have not provided any reference to ethical practices in online research and what they actually did to address ethical issues. For instance, Zhu and Zhang (2010), while conducting their study on the influences of consumer and product characteristics on the perceptions developed by consumers based on online reviews, clearly indicated that the participants were required to enter information that does not in any way relate to private or personal lives. They kept all such information confidential and discarded immediately. Similarly, Dwyer (2007) also describes practices of information coding to prevent identity revelation.
The results section is also well-articulated in this research article. In particular, the section is clear and consistent in terms of content. By organizing the results section to align to the previously-mentioned hypotheses, the researchers managed to create an impression of coherence. The results manage to bring together concepts from the introduction, literature review and methodology to give the reader an effective understanding of the research phenomena. The results are descriptive, analytical, and well-represented using tables and relations to the literature and the hypotheses. The results also go back to the measures of evaluating the appropriateness of factors of manipulation in the study.
Based on the information provided through the hypotheses, methodologies and the research question, no information gaps appear in the results section. The depiction of order and congruence between the results obtained and others from previous literatures indicate that the study may sufficiently suit for its purpose. Moreover, there is no other need for mentioning gaps in the study at this early stage since it would imply a recommendation for future implications. The results, however, counter to those discussed by Wien and Olsen (2012), who determined that the context in which the impacts of consumer posts are felt influences the outcomes of the consumers’ resonance with brands.
Discussion and Conclusion Section
As opposed to other studies such as that conducted by Schindler and Bickart (2012), the discussion section is fused with the conclusion of this paper. Other studies have the discussion and the results infused together instead. However, the combined discussion and conclusion sections provide sufficient details to cover for the requirements of the two sections. The discussion refers to the literature review and mentions the points realized from there. In addition to this, it addresses critical factors such as the fit between the findings and the hypotheses as well as how the authors have answered the research question in the paper. The discussion also mentions the implications that the study would have on future research. In the discussion, the authors mention that management should apply the results obtained in advancing marketing efforts. The discussion goes on to highlight the limitations of the study, including the experimental manipulation was conducted artificially, the dimensions of brand evaluation were founded on mock Facebook profiles, the brands used were fictitious rather than real, and the textual constitution of the stimulus. The authors thus conclude by recommending that the future studies should focus on other social media platforms such as Twitter. As such, it is clear that the fused discussion and conclusion section is conclusive and effective.
The article by Chen et al (2015) provides a new perspective on the consideration of the impacts of cognitive and affective elaborations on consumer behavior. Through the review, it becomes clear that the authors anticipated the intensity of the information provided. The article not only digresses from the conventional uni-dimensional considerations of the influence of posts on consumer perception, but also does so by providing sufficient justifications for their decisions. Moreover, the coherence created from the introduction through to the conclusion of the article is exceptional given the unique format adopted by the authors. The information provided in each section serves the purpose of the section’s design, making every part of the paper a satisfactory read. In spite of this evident focus on the research purposes, the authors fell short in the methodologies section by giving sufficient practical information without identifying the ethical considerations required in the practice.
Chatterjee, P 2011, ‘Drivers of new product recommending and referral behavior on social network sites,’ International Journal of Advertising, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 77- 101.
Chen, K, Kim, J & Lin, J 2015, ‘The effects of affective and cognitive elaborations from Facebook posts on consumer attitude formation,’ Journal of Consumer Behavior, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 208- 218.
Dwyer, P 2007, ‘Measuring the value of electronic word of mouth and its impact on consumer communities,’ Journal of Interactive Marketing, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 63- 79.
Engel, J, Kollat, D & Blackwell, RD 1968, Consumer behavior, Rinehart and Winston Inc., New York: Holt.
Hirschman, EC & Holbrook, MB 1982, ‘Hedonic consumption: emerging concepts, methods and propositions,’ Journal of Marketing, vol. 46, no. 3, pp. 92- 101.
Kempf, DF 1999, ‘Attitude formation from product trial: distinct rule of cognition and affect for hedonic and functional products,’ Psychology and Marketing, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 35- 50.
Kim, J, Baek, Y & Choi, YH 2012, ‘The structural effects of metaphor-elicited cognitive and affective elaboration levels on attitude towards the ad,’ Journal of Advertising, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 79-98.
Lipsmann, A, Mudd, G, Rich, M & Bruich, S 2012, ‘The power of “likes”: how brands reach (and influence) fans through social media marketing,’ Journal of Advertising Research, vol. 52, no. 1, pp. 40- 52.
Paek, H, Hove, T, Jeung, HJ & Kim, M 2011, ‘Peer or expert? The persuasive impact of YouTube public service announcement producers.’ International Journal of Advertising, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 161- 188.
Paolacci, G, Chandler, J, & Ipeirotis, PG 2010, ‘Running experiments on Amazon mechanical Turk’ Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 5, no. 5, pp. 411- 419.
Schindler, RM & Bickart, B 2012, ‘Perceived helpfulness of online consumer reviews: the role of message, content and style,’ Journal of Consumer Behavior, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 234- 243.
Schulze, C, Scholer, L & Skiera, B 2014, ‘Not all fun and games: viral marketing for utilitarian products,’ Journal of Marketing, vol. 78, no. 1, pp. 1-19.
Van der Lans, R, van Bruggen, V, Eliashberg, J & Wierenga, B, 2010, ‘A viral branching model for predicting the spread of electronic word of mouth,’ Marketing Science, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 348- 365.
Wien, AH & Olsen, SO 2012, ‘Evaluation context’s role in driving positive word- of- mouth intentions,’ Journal of Consumer Behavior, vol. 11, no. 6, pp. 504- 513.
Zhu, F & Zhang, X 2010, ‘Impact of online consumer reviews on sales: the moderating role of product and consumer characteristics,’ Journal of Marketing, vol. 74, pp. 133- 148.