Credibility in Context
This project will begin by exploring historic and contemporary anxieties around new media and technology. Many of the threats to individuals and civilisation associated with the Web have been played out in the past with other technology such as radio and television. This research intends to describe how and why people’s perceived inability to make credibility judgments on the Web has become one these concerns. A deeper analysis will consider whether credibility judgement is a ‘skill’, a practice, or the transmission of cultural values. In doing so, it will explore the social construction of credibility and its components; including perceptions of trust, provenance, expertise, authority and reliability and investigate how other disciplines, such as information and computer science, have approached credibility.
Credibility and Youth
Such anxieties inevitably coalesce around notions of vulnerable or ill-equipped youth. This research will therefore explore the historic and contemporary discourse about young people’s skills and competencies with Web technology and go on to investigate policy and educational responses to the question of skills and competencies.
The next stage of the project will be to develop a dynamic methodology for capturing the credibility judgments young people make online that is robust and scalable so it will be able to harvest qualitative data on a large scale from multiple locations. The data should help identify the technical and cultural signifiers young people look for when they are deciding what credible information is and determine if their peers and authority figures influence them in their decisions about credibility. Further aims for the research are to capture, for analysis, young people’s responses to Semantic Web technology intended to enhance the credibility of online news and eventually develop software educators can use to facilitate the pedagogy of evaluating information on the Web through negotiation and collaboration