Trust in online information - A comparison among high school students, college students and PhD students with regard to trust in Wikipedia

Muilwijk, Rienco (2012) Trust in online information - A comparison among high school students, college students and PhD students with regard to trust in Wikipedia.

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Abstract:With the advent of the World Wide Web, it has become easy to obtain more information in less time. Accessibility, quantity and speed have been improved in the past years, but what about information quality? The current study focuses on how users perceive the trustworthiness of information. Three user groups, namely high school students, college students, and PhD students, made trust judgments on Wikipedia-articles which varied in quality and familiarity to the user. These three user groups were selected because as a consequence of differences in age and education progression, they are expected to differ as well in the development of information problem solving skills. User‟s information problem solving skills determine, together with source experience and domain expertise, a trust judgment. These three user characteristics can be found in the 3S-model (Lucassen & Schraagen, 2011), which differentiates three strategies (source, surface, and semantics) applied by a user to evaluate information‟s credibility. Two relations of the 3S-model were tested in this study: on the one hand the relation between the application of a surface strategy and the degree of information skills (knowledge how to evaluate online information, Metzger, 2007); on the other hand, the relation between the application semantic strategy and the degree of domain expertise. Through the think aloud method participants indicated which information features (e.g., authority, accuracy, completeness, length) they attended to while making trust judgments. Based on the 3S-model, a coding scheme was developed. For each group, all remarks were coded and counted in order to include them in the coding scheme. The coded remarks were compared to each other to find differences and similarities between the user groups in feature and strategy application. Results show that high school students differed from college students and PhD students in feature and strategy application. High school students frequently mentioned the accuracy of information whereby semantic strategy was applied. College students and PhD students predominantly attended to authority. Presumably, their information skills enabled them to apply a surface strategy more than a semantic strategy. As expected, all three groups have in common that they apply more semantic strategy when confronted with familiar topics compared with unfamiliar topics.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/61631
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