Communication & Medicine, Vol 11, No 3 (2014)

Strategies of persuasion in offers to participate in cancer clinical trials II: Appeals to altruism

Ellen Barton, Susan Eggly, Andrew Winckles, Terrance L. Albrecht
Issued Date: 27 Apr 2016


Recent research has suggested that altruism might play a role in patients’ decisions to participate in cancer clinical trials. Little is known, however, about oncologists’ use of appeals to altruism as a persuasive strategy in the face-to-face communication of offers to participate in clinical trials. Based on a corpus of 22 oncology encounters, this exploratory discourse analysis describes oncologists’ appeals to altruism in clinical trial offers and discusses the ethical status of such appeals. Oncologists make appeals to altruism (1) in discussions of trial benefits and (2) in research stories about the progress of medical science through clinical trials. But these appeals were made only rarely in the corpus, indicating that oncologists may not regard appeals to altruism as a persuasive strategy, perhaps because they regard these appeals as ineffective in recruiting patients to participate in clinical trials.

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DOI: 10.1558/cam.v11i3.17647


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