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Equal Trust: An Experiment Exploring the Impact of Interactivity and Sources on Individuals' Perceptions of Credibility for Online News Stories
Unformatted Document Text:  13 (Pretest participants were also entered). A brief demographic profile of sample members reveals that 78.5 percent were Caucasian, 16.5 percent were Asian American/Pacific Islander, 2.5 percent were African-American, and the remainder consisted of other ethnic groups. In addition, 64.5 percent were female, and the average age was 22 (with a range of 18-35). Procedure Three research assistants were trained to administer the experiment to participants. Preliminary statistical analyses showed no differences among variables with respect to which research assistant administered the experiment, ensuring consistency across conditions. To begin, subjects were randomly assigned to one of the six conditions at computer workstations. After a short introduction with basic instructions and assurances of confidentiality and anonymity, individuals were asked to read an online news story at their own pace and then fill out a questionnaire upon completion. All subjects were asked to use Netscape Navigator to keep browser software consistent. Participants were free to view the story in any manner they wished, but they were asked to only click and visit elements on the page itself. In other words, they were asked to not click the Search Button, Home Button, etc. at the top of the browser in order to keep them on the study’s Web page. After filling out the questionnaire, participants were debriefed and reminded that they would be entered into a drawing for their cooperation. Once any additional questions were answered, the participants were released. Stimulus Materials & Independent Variables The online news story participants read was about China being awarded the 2008 Summer Olympics. The original story was obtained from the CNN news Web site, but a

Authors: Kiousis, Spiro.
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13
(Pretest participants were also entered). A brief demographic profile of sample members
reveals that 78.5 percent were Caucasian, 16.5 percent were Asian American/Pacific
Islander, 2.5 percent were African-American, and the remainder consisted of other ethnic
groups. In addition, 64.5 percent were female, and the average age was 22 (with a range
of 18-35).
Procedure
Three research assistants were trained to administer the experiment to participants.
Preliminary statistical analyses showed no differences among variables with respect to
which research assistant administered the experiment, ensuring consistency across
conditions. To begin, subjects were randomly assigned to one of the six conditions at
computer workstations. After a short introduction with basic instructions and assurances
of confidentiality and anonymity, individuals were asked to read an online news story at
their own pace and then fill out a questionnaire upon completion. All subjects were
asked to use Netscape Navigator to keep browser software consistent. Participants were
free to view the story in any manner they wished, but they were asked to only click and
visit elements on the page itself. In other words, they were asked to not click the Search
Button, Home Button, etc. at the top of the browser in order to keep them on the study’s
Web page. After filling out the questionnaire, participants were debriefed and reminded
that they would be entered into a drawing for their cooperation. Once any additional
questions were answered, the participants were released.
Stimulus Materials & Independent Variables
The online news story participants read was about China being awarded the 2008
Summer Olympics. The original story was obtained from the CNN news Web site, but a


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