Title

Untangling the antecedents of initial trust in Web-based health information: The roles of argument quality, source expertise, and user perceptions of information quality and risk

Abstract

As the Internet develops as a medium for disseminating health-related information, research on Web-based health information consumption grows increasingly important to academics and practitioners. Building on the current research in this area, our study proposes a model of initial trust formation in Web-based health information, rooted in the elaboration likelihood model (ELM) and Toulmin's model of argumentation. The proposed model theorizes trust as a function of perceived information quality and perceived risk, which are in turn determined by the structural quality of the message (argument quality) and the expertise of the message source (source expertise). Testing of the research model was accomplished via a field experiment involving 300 online users who had searched for health information on the Web. Overall, the results largely support the proposed model, explaining substantial variance in trust and highlighting the important but distinct roles that argument quality, source expertise, and user perceptions of information quality and risk play in determining an individual's decision to trust health information online.

Document Type

Article

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dss.2013.01.029

Keywords

online trust, information quality, risk, health information, argument quality, source expertise

Publication Date

2013

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