Magazine article The Quill

The Case for Quizzes

Magazine article The Quill

The Case for Quizzes

Article excerpt

IN TODAY'S DIGITAL-FIRST news industry, priorities have turned to clicks and "attention minutes" and whatever the next big metric will be. But in all these analytics, how are we measuring readers' understanding of news? Where is the metric showing that what we're reporting is actually resonating with readers?

To help meet their analytics goals, many news organizations use interactive polls to engage their readers, keep them on the page longer and obtain those soughtafter clicks. Although they are engaging, polls also have downsides.

In some cases, they may actually do more harm than good, because some site visitors may believe that online poll results are accurate reflections of public opinion when, in fact, they are not. Further, the widespread use of entertainment-oriented polls may miss valuable opportunities to both entertain and educate visitors.

At the Engaging News Project, we wanted to know if there was a way to improve online polls. The solution we came up with - quizzes - may seem simple but can have quite a measurable impact.

Although they may look similar to polls, quizzes have a few more benefits. Through our research, we found that people learned more from an interactive quiz than they did from a story on its own. Our study participants also spent more time on an article with a quiz than they did with a story lacking an interactive feature. Finally, participants told us they enjoyed engaging with a quiz more than reading blocks of text conveying the same information.

So, what exactly can quizzes be used for? To help get you started on creating a quiz, here are a few strategies that we and other researchers found work well.


This may seem like a given, but stories where there is a definitive right answer present a great opportunity to quiz your readers. This includes election results, health data or where a presidential candidate stands on an issue. …

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