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Students' approaches to the evaluation of digital information: Insights from their trust judgments

Johnson, F and Sbaffi, L and Rowley, J (2015) Students' approaches to the evaluation of digital information: Insights from their trust judgments. British Journal of Educational Technology. ISSN 0007-1013

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Abstract

© 2015 British Educational Research Association. This study contributes to an understanding of the role of experience in the evaluation phase of the information search process. A questionnaire-based survey collected data from 1st and 3rd-year undergraduate students regarding the factors that influence their judgment of the trustworthiness of online health information. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were conducted. First-year students identified four factors: ease of use, content, recommendation and brand. Third-year students identified seven factors, in order of importance: content, credibility, recommendation, ease of use, usefulness, style and brand. They also were much clearer about their evaluation processes than 1st-year students; for 3rd-year students, the factor structure was clearer, and items generally loaded onto the expected factors. The significance of these findings is discussed and recommendations for practice and further research are offered.

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