A diary study of credibility assessment in everyday life information activities on the web: preliminary findings
This study investigates how people's credibility assessment processes have evolved as they engage in increasingly diverse types of online activities beyond seeking for information or reading online news. Using an online activity diary method, information on people's online activities and their associated credibility assessment processes were collected at multiple points throughout the day for three days. This paper reports on a preliminary analysis of 2,471 diary entries received from 333 respondents. Content analysis was applied to people's descriptions of their online activities, yielding 17 different types of information objects and 26 categories of online content. People's credibility judgments were examined on three levels: construct, heuristics, and interaction. The results, although preliminary, indicate that distinct credibility assessment heuristics are in fact emerging as people engage in online activities involving more user-generated and multimedia content. The unique contribution of this paper is its identification of the importance of taking a heuristic approach to credibility assessment by studying a large sample of heavy Internet users within the context of the everyday life information activities they conduct online.