Nowadays, almost everyone uses the World Wide Web (WWW) to search for information of any kind. In education, students frequently use the WWW for selecting information to accomplish assignments such as writing an essay or preparing a presentation. The evaluation of sources and information is an important sub-skill in this process. But many students have not yet optimally developed this skill. On the basis of verbal reports, eye-tracking data, and navigation logs this study investigated how novices in the domain of psychology evaluate Internet sources as compared to domain experts. In addition, two different verbal reporting techniques, namely thinking aloud and cued retrospective reporting, were compared in order to examine students' evaluation behavior. Results revealed that domain expertise has an impact on individuals' evaluation behavior during Web search, such that domain experts showed a more sophisticated use of evaluation criteria to judge the reliability of sources and information and selected more reliable information than domain novices. Furthermore, the different verbal reporting techniques did not lead to different conclusions on criteria use in relation to domain expertise, although in general more utterances concerning evaluation of sources and information were expressed during cued retrospective reporting.
- source evaluation
- web search