From Encyclopædia Britannica to Wikipedia: generational differences in the perceived credibility of online encyclopedia information

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From Encyclopædia Britannica to Wikipedia: generational differences in the perceived credibility of online encyclopedia information
Authors: Andrew J. Flanagin, Miriam J. Metzger [edit item]
Citation: Information, Communication & Society 14 (3): 355-374. 2011.
Publication type: Journal article
Peer-reviewed: Yes
Database(s):
DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2010.542823.
Google Scholar cites: Citations
Link(s): Paper link
Added by Wikilit team: Yes
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From Encyclopædia Britannica to Wikipedia: generational differences in the perceived credibility of online encyclopedia information is a publication by Andrew J. Flanagin, Miriam J. Metzger.


[edit] Abstract

This study examined the perceived credibility of user-generated (i.e. Wikipedia) versus more expertly provided online encyclopedic information (i.e. Citizendium, and the online version of the Encyclopædia Britannica) across generations. Two large-scale surveys with embedded quasi-experiments were conducted: among 11–18-year-olds living at home and among adults 18 years and older. Results showed that although use of Wikipedia is common, many people (particularly adults) do not truly comprehend how Wikipedia operates in terms of information provision, and that while people trust Wikipedia as an information source, they express doubt about the appropriateness of doing so. A companion quasi-experiment found that both children and adults assess information to be more credible when it originates or appears to originate from Encyclopædia Britannica. In addition, children rated information from Wikipedia to be less believable when they viewed it on Wikipedia's site than when that same information appeared on either Citizendium's site or on Encyclopædia Britannica's site. Indeed, content originating from Wikipedia was perceived by children as least credible when it was shown on a Wikipedia page, yet the most credible when it was shown on the page of Encyclopædia Britannica. The practical and theoretical implications of these results are discussed.

[edit] Research questions

"This study examined the perceived credibility of user-generated (i.e. Wikipedia) versus more expertly provided online encyclopedic information (i.e. Citizendium, and the online version of the Encyclopædia Britannica) across generations."

Research details

Topics: Reader perceptions of credibility [edit item]
Domains: Information science [edit item]
Theory type: Analysis, Explanation [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Case [edit item]
Theories: [edit item]
Research design: Statistical analysis [edit item]
Data source: Survey responses [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: Cross-sectional [edit item]
Unit of analysis: Website [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia language: Not specified [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"Despite the promise of social media in general and Wikipedia, in particular,to harness the ‘wisdom of the crowd,’ results from this study suggest that users are not ready to fully relinquish traditional models of information provision. Results indicate that adults’ perceptions of credibility are strongly anchored in the idea of expert-generated (or vetted) content, as shown by their apparent singular focus on the method of information provision. Young people’s credibility perceptions were also driven by similar processes, as they too preferred infor- mation from traditional experts and expert-vetted sources. At the same time, however, younger users also found the user-generated content to be superior, but only when there were unaware that it had been user-generated. This suggests that a slow and subtle shift may be occurring in how people approach expert- versus user-generated content. It also leaves the question of how future generations who will likely be less steeped in traditional models of information provision, or less aware of distinctions between provision models, will perceive and accept information that appears to be increasingly pro- vided by the very people who consume it."

[edit] Comments


Further notes[edit]