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Table 4 Reasons for report section attention identified by qualitative content analysis

From: Use of a quantitative data report in a hypothetical decision scenario for health policymaking: a computer-assisted laboratory study

Category Theme (report section theme relates to)*, ** Description of category Illustrative quote per category
Type of information use + establish comprehension (3, 4)
+ facilitates reflective thinking (1, 3, 4)
+ form an opinion based on given information (3, 4)
+ learn about authors' view (4)
+ personal relation to topic (3)
± previously made choice was confirmed (2, 3, 4)
± credibility of text part is important (2)
get overview (1, 3, 4)
Themes describe participants’ purposes of information use and mostly relate to importance of a report section for decision task
Category addressed by most participants
“[…] I looked through the conclusion to see whether I did not miss anything, any important information I did not read, yet.” (participant 20, advanced student)
Perceived understandability + text part was short (4)
+ written understandably (4)
+ figures enhance comprehension of contents (3)
± figures not understandable (3)
± figures quickly understandable (3)
± no link between information and decision (1, 2, 3)
− more information provided then needed (2)
− too little previous knowledge for understanding the information (2)
Themes reflect understandability of report sections in connection with more or less attention to a report section
Category addressed by some participants
“A graphic provides a nice overview and oneself can, you can see what the development is and so on, you do not need to look at the corresponding text, this saves time when one is under time pressure […].” (participant 10, advanced student)
Decision + figures generally important (3)
+ information helpful for weighing up options (3)
+ text part contains important information (3)
+ text part relevant (1, 2, 3)
± information less important under time pressure (1–4)
± text more important than figures (3)
± text part not relevant (1, 2)
− already decided before reading (3, 4)
Themes relate to decision-making process
Category addressed by most participants
“I knew, I only have 20 min, and whether this is routine data or data from a primary data collection is not so important for me, for such a spontaneous decision, this may not be a perfect answer, but in that situation it was not so important for me and therefore I did not read it so much.” (participant 27, advanced student)
Expectations towards report sections + desired information was given (1, 4)
± other information desired (2–4)
− expected information (3, 4)
− information already known from previous knowledge (1, 2, 3)
− information already known from report (3, 4)
Themes relate to participants’ expectations and anticipations towards information given in report sections
Category addressed by some participants
“Well, actually I was looking for information on effectivity of measures and I did not find it. Therefore, I thought ‘okay I will glance at the graphics, wanted to scroll down to the information I actually was looking for, which so to say, never came.” (participant 42, professional)
  1. *Report sections are indicated by their numbering: 1. Introduction, 2. Methods, 3. Results, 4. Discussion & conclusion
  2. **Reason or theme was reported to either result in more (+) or less (−) attention to report section or some participants reported a reason or theme to result in more and others to less attention (±)