Volume 71, Issue 11 p. 1295-1307
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Older adultsʼ credibility assessment of online health information: An exploratory study using an extended typology of web credibility

Wonchan Choi

Corresponding Author

Wonchan Choi

School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Correspondence

Wonchan Choi, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413.

Email: [email protected]

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First published: 26 February 2020
Citations: 19

Abstract

Credibility assessment is a crucial component in the process of peopleʼs health information seeking, especially in the web context. Finding “credible” health information from a plethora of information on the web may be more challenging for older adults, who have relatively less experience with the Internet. This article reports on the findings of an exploratory study of older adultsʼ credibility assessments of online health information. The data collected through semistructured interviews with 21 older adult Internet users in the United States were analyzed based on the extended typology of web credibility (Choi & Stvilia, 2015, Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 66, 2399–2414). The findings of the study revealed that older adults paid closer attention to operator-related credibility cues and heuristics when judging the credibility of health information on the web, followed by content- and design-related ones. Also, the findings suggest that participants who were younger and used the Internet more frequently employed a wider variety of cues and heuristics to evaluate the credibility of online health information. Based on these findings, both theoretical and practical implications of the research and future research directions are discussed.