Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty: Students’ Assessment of Credibility in Online Materials

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

This is an interesting study (39 page PDF), with a fair number (1000+) of respondents, into perceptions of social media credibility. I would have insisted the authors work with a good editor before publication; poor writing frustrates the reader (for example, when saying  "people tend to discount less if the information appears to have implicit truth," which is so passive it obfuscates any meaning; or for example, the assertion that "credibility is seen as a form of believability, assessed by the consumer" defies understanding). The study is focused on "how information consumers make decisions and assign credibility in social media contexts." I dislike the phrase 'information consumer', as each of the two words is in an important way unrepresentative of what's happening. Occasionally, gems of clarity shine through. For example: "There are differences between factual and counter-factual posts, whether (or not) they are well or badly presented." And, "Presentation is a significant factor in assessment of credibility." Or, "Gender appears to have limited effect on credibility judgments." A broader sample would have been nice: maybe more than just one university, and maybe more than just students.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: May 30, 2024 12:34 a.m.

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