Making sense of credibility on the Web: Models for evaluating online information and recommendations for future research
Metzger performs a literature review on efforts to improve the credibility assessment skills of Internet users, including checklist and contextual models, as well as empirical studies. She then details the new strategies suggested by her review and proposes future directions for web credibility research. Her dual-processing model highlights the importance of studying not just a user’s ability to evaluate, but also their motivation to do so.
Zipf’s principle of least effort played out in the studies reported as users gravitated toward actions that were easiest to perform and almost never did any credibility assessment. In fact, one of the most critical measures for users – the presentation and design of a web site – was a very poor credibility indicator.
Metzger’s conclusion is we should not leave credibility assessments to the user, but should focus on creating tools and systems that assess credibility and train users on using those systems. One such system, Credibility Commons looks intriguing. Metzger suggests that, given the resources needed for many such systems, the best may be a collaborative filtering or peer review type, like Slashdot.
Metzger, M. J. (2007). Making sense of credibility on the Web: Models for evaluating online information and recommendations for future research. Journal of the American Society for Information Science & Technology, 58(13), 2078-2091.