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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:  16 Six dimensions of credibility that have consistently emerged in research were used to build the index for this study — specifically, accuracy, believability, fairness, objectivity, bias, and sensationalism (e.g., Sundar & Nass, 2001; Gaziano & McGrath, 1986; Johnson & Kaye, 1998; Meyer, 1988; Eastin, 2001; Constantinides & Swenson, 2000). Seven-point scales were used on each item to measure perceived credibility. Reverse coding was used on some items to reduce response sets (Poindexter & McCombs, 2000). Alpha reliability tests revealed that removing the fairness item created the most reliable indices for both perceived source and message credibility. Upon removing the item, the final alpha-score for the source and message credibility scales were .71 and .64 respectively. Nunnally (1978) suggests that alpha reliability estimates above .60 are acceptable. Additive indices were created for the two credibility scales. Higher scores indicated higher levels of perceived credibility. Data Analysis Strategy To explore the impact of the independent variables on perceptions of source credibility and message credibility, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) models were used to test differences among means. Because of the complex nature of such relationships, Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) models were also explored when relationships were observed to control for the impact of additional variables. Specifically, the following variables were used as controls: gender, age, media use, and opinions towards China. Results The first research question asked whether those individuals who were exposed to highly interactive news content (containing multimedia features) would be more likely to provide higher ratings of perceived credibility than those at lower levels. Though the

Authors: Kiousis, Spiro.
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Six dimensions of credibility that have consistently emerged in research were
used to build the index for this study — specifically, accuracy, believability, fairness,
objectivity, bias, and sensationalism (e.g., Sundar & Nass, 2001; Gaziano & McGrath,
1986; Johnson & Kaye, 1998; Meyer, 1988; Eastin, 2001; Constantinides & Swenson,
2000). Seven-point scales were used on each item to measure perceived credibility.
Reverse coding was used on some items to reduce response sets (Poindexter &
McCombs, 2000). Alpha reliability tests revealed that removing the fairness item created
the most reliable indices for both perceived source and message credibility. Upon
removing the item, the final alpha-score for the source and message credibility scales
were .71 and .64 respectively. Nunnally (1978) suggests that alpha reliability estimates
above .60 are acceptable. Additive indices were created for the two credibility scales.
Higher scores indicated higher levels of perceived credibility.
Data Analysis Strategy
To explore the impact of the independent variables on perceptions of source credibility
and message credibility, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) models were used to test
differences among means. Because of the complex nature of such relationships, Analysis
of Covariance (ANCOVA) models were also explored when relationships were observed
to control for the impact of additional variables. Specifically, the following variables
were used as controls: gender, age, media use, and opinions towards China.
Results
The first research question asked whether those individuals who were exposed to highly
interactive news content (containing multimedia features) would be more likely to
provide higher ratings of perceived credibility than those at lower levels. Though the


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