Perceived Quality of Contents and Evaluation Efforts in Students’ Usage of User-Generated Content for Academic Purposes

Corinna Petra Raith

Publication: Chapter in book/Conference proceedingContribution to conference proceedings


With the emergence of Web 2.0, Internet users developed from mere consumers to producers of information that is openly accessible on the Internet, without prior editorial control. Popular examples for the provision of such “user-generated content” are Wikipedia and YouTube, but also contents within blogs, forums, question-and-answer sites and even social media like Facebook belong to this
category. Based on an explorative interview study, this paper investigates how students perceive the quality of contents across these different informational platforms, and how they evaluate information quality when using user-generated content for academic (learning) purposes. The findings showed that students perceive the quality of contents rather as good, especially on Wikipedia and YouTube. In contrast, question-and-answer sites were widely seen as having a strongly mixed or poor quality. In terms of quality evaluation, students reported a comprehensive system of quality criteria embracing content-related and source-related factors as well as visual perceptions. Besides the image of a source, especially comprehensibility, accuracy, and coverage played a major role. Visual
appearance was less important. However, the evaluation efforts varied strongly across the applications and among the participants. In this regard, students’ assessment approaches ranged from a rather non-reflective usage of information in single cases up to more sophisticated approaches. This has important implications for universities and lecturers, as the outcome indicates that further training is required to level up and standardize students’ information literacy competences. The results are preliminary in their nature and are, therefore, to be validated in further research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVision 2020: Sustainable Economic Development and Application of Innovation Management from Regional expansion to Global Growth: Proceedings of the 32nd International Business Information Management Association Conference (IBIMA)
Editors Khalid S. Soliman
Place of PublicationSeville Spain
PublisherIBIMA Press
Pages2988 - 3001
ISBN (Print)978-0-9998551-1-9
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502050 Business informatics
  • 102015 Information systems

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