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BOOK: Schneider, F. M. (2012). Measuring Subjective Movie Evaluation Criteria: Conceptual Foundation, Construction, and Validation of the SMEC Scales (Dissertation). University of Koblenz-Landau.

Audiences’ movie evaluations have often been explored as effects of experiencing movies. However, little attention has been paid to the evaluative process itself and its determinants before, during, and after movie exposure. Moreover, until recently, research on the subjective assessment of specific film features (e.g., story, photography) has played a less important role. Adding to this research, this dissertation introduces the idea of subjective movie evaluation criteria (SMEC) and describes the scale construction for their measurement and its validation process. Drawing on social cognition theories, SMEC can be defined as standards that viewers use for assessing the features of films and conceptualized as mental representations of - or attitudes towards - specific movie features guiding cognitive and affective information processing of movies and corresponding evaluative responses. Studies were conducted in five phases to develop and validate scales for measuring and examining the structure of SMEC. In Phase I, open-ended data were categorized and content validated via a modified structure formation technique and items were developed. Subsequently in Phase II, participants completed an online questionnaire including revised and pilot-tested items. Exploratory factor analyses were iteratively applied to explore the latent structure and to select items. The resulting 8-factor model was cross-validated with different samples in Phase III applying confirmatory factor analyses which yielded good fit indices, thereby supporting structural validity. In Phase IV, latent state–trait analyses were carried out to examine the reliability, occasion specificity, common consistency, and method specificity of the eight dimensions. All factors—Story Verisimilitude, Story Innovation, Cinematography, Special Effects, Recommendation, Innocuousness, Light-heartedness, and Cognitive Stimulation - are reliable and are largely determined by stable individual differences, albeit some of them also show substantial systematic, but unstable effects due to the situation or interaction. These results provide evidence for the substantive validity of the SMEC scales. Finally, in Phase V the nomological network of SMEC was explored (external validity by examining correlations with related constructs like film genre preferences and personality traits). Taken together, whereas the SMEC concept - compatible with contemporary social cognition theories - provides a framework to theorize and address research questions about the role of movie evaluation criteria and evaluative processes, the SMEC scales are the proper tool for investigating the role of these criteria and the processes they are involved in.
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