Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

    Information discernment and online reading behaviour: an experiment

    Walton, Geoffrey ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4251-2891, Pointon, Matt, Lackenby, Michael, Barker, Jamie, Turner, Martin ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1975-5561 and Wilkinson, Andrew (2023) Information discernment and online reading behaviour: an experiment. Online Information Review, 47 (3). pp. 522-549. ISSN 1468-4527

    Accepted Version
    Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

    Download (503kB) | Preview


    Purpose. To explore the relationship between participants’ eye fixations (a measure of attention) and durations (a measure of concentration) on Areas of Interest within a range of online articles and their levels of information discernment (a sub-process of information literacy characterising how participants make judgements about information). Methodology. Eye-tracking equipment was used as a proxy measure for reading behaviour by recording eye-fixations, dwell times and regressions in males aged 18-24 (n=48). Participants’ level of information discernment was determined using a quantitative data-measure (questionnaire). Findings. Data indicates a relationship between participants’ level of information discernment and their viewing behaviours within the articles’ Area of Interest. Those who score highly on an information discernment questionnaire tended to interrogate the online article in a structured and linear way. Those with high-level information discernment are more likely to pay attention to an article’s textual and graphical information than those exhibiting low-level information discernment. Conversely, participants with low-level information discernment indicated a lack of curiosity by not interrogating all of the article. They were unsystematic in their saccadic movements spending significantly longer viewing irrelevant areas. Social implications. The most profound consequence is that those with low-level information discernment, through a lack of curiosity in particular, could base their health, workplace, political or everyday decisions on sub-optimal engagement with, and comprehension of information or misinformation (such as fake news). Originality/value. There is a demonstrable relationship between a persons’ self-reported level of information literacy (information discernment specifically) and objective measures of reading behaviour.

    Impact and Reach


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics for this dataset are available via IRStats2.


    Repository staff only

    Edit record Edit record