Credibility of Expert Information in Web 2.0

Sometimes this information is provided by "old" media like television or print media. However the internet constitutes a new, non-journalistically mediated medium, where expert information on complex issues - such as climate change - is increasingly available. In certain social web / "Web 2.0" formats, internet users can directly ask an expert and obtain information on issues that are relevant to them.

In turn, however, characteristics and competences of Web 2.0 sources are often difficult to assess for users. Pre-existing personal relations with these sources and established credibility markers - such as mass media journalists that check and thereby validate information - do not exist. 

This has made the selection of information more difficult for users and raises the question how information is selected and on which criteria this selection is based. A key variable here is the credibility attributed to specific sources by the users. In cooperation with German internet-based expert service "wer-weiss-was.de", we analyse how users assess the credibility of the expert advice offered on different topics, and how their credibility assessments can be explained.

Involved: Mike S. Schäfer, Inga Schlichting
Duration and Funding: 2010-2011, proprietary project of the CliSAP Research Group, in cooperation with Wer-Weiss-was.de


Publications and Talks

Schäfer, Mike S. & Inga Schlichting (2011): Nutzerbefragung „Glaubwürdigkeit von Experten bei wer-weiss-was.de“. Deskriptive Auswertung. Ergebnisbericht für wer-weiss-was.de. Forschungsgruppe Media Construction of Climate Change, Institut für Journalistik und Kommunikationswissenschaft, Universität Hamburg.

Schäfer, Mike S. & Inga Schlichting (2010): Die mediale Konstruktion der Vertrauenswürdigkeit von Klimawissenschaftlern. Workshop „Vertrauen in Medizinisches Wissen“. Hans-Bredow-Institut Hamburg. 11.6.2010.