Understanding trust formation in digital information sources: The case of Wikipedia

  • Rowley J
  • Johnson F
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Abstract

This article contributes to knowledge on how users establish the trustworthiness of digital information. An exploratory two-stage study was conducted with Master’s and undergraduate students in information studies. In the first phase of the study respondents commented on the factors and processes associated with trust formation. Participants commented on authorship and references, quality of writing and editing, and verification via links to external reference sources. Findings from the second phase, based on a checklist, suggested that participants relied on a range of factors when assessing the trustworthiness of articles, including content factors such as authorship, currency and usefulness together with context factors such as references, expert recommendation and triangulation with their own knowledge. These findings are discussed in the light of previous related research and recommendations for further research are offered.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Wikipedia
  • credibility
  • digital information
  • health information
  • students
  • trust

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Authors

  • Jennifer Rowley

  • Frances Johnson

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