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Title:Source of information: perceptions of trustworthiness and beyond in eWOM
Author(s):Varabyova, Veranika
Advisor(s):Nelson, Michelle R.
Department / Program:Advertising
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
social media
Relational, Individual and Collective Self-aspects
sources of information online
information source evaluation
Abstract:This research examines perceptions of information source trustworthiness on social media and the ways in which self-concepts relate to interpretations about trustworthiness of an online information source. The abundance of available information sources in the Internet environment, and specifically on social media, force Internet users to find ways to navigate and choose between multiple information sources and advertisers to create elaborate ways to get noticed by users. Data were collected from semi-structured interviews with 8 students born in the United States and 8 students born in China at a Midwestern university. Analysis followed a grounded theory approach that consisted of creating codes, gleaning salient themes and developing patterns, which were then validated with external theory. The study represents a unique attempt to consider a variety of word-of-mouth factors simultaneously that underlie the influence of the source of product information on the information seeker. The findings revealed that individuals do not follow a singular process but use several strategies to evaluate information sources on social media. Building on the literature, five strategies of online information source evaluation are discussed (popularity, source credibility on the subject, opinion multiplicity, likable group influence and unbiased opinion) and a new online information source attribute is presented. Second, individuals’ relational self, “derived from ties with specific others” (Kashima & Hardie, 2000), was discovered to influence trustworthiness judgments on social media. These findings are presented to suggest a number of avenues for further credibility theorizing, research, and advertising practice.
Issue Date:2015-01-21
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Veranika Varabyova
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-01-21
Date Deposited:2014-12

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