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EXpertise, Authority and Control on the InterneT (EXACT): a study of the formation of source credibility in Web 2.0 environments for learning

The EXACT project addresses how people come to grips with the transference of formal expertise and control of information from institutions, such as publishers, schools, and libraries, to the users in Web 2.0 resources, and how users justify and uphold trust in the resources’ authority. With the increasing use of Web 2.0 tools in schools, a better foundation for understanding how students approach these tools as resources for learning is needed, so that schools can develop methods that better support the students. Studies in education and library and information science have shown that students have difficulties with judging source credibility.

Three groups of agents involved in the use of Web 2.0 resources in a school environment will be studied: consumers (high school students), intermediaries (teachers and librarians), and producers (authors of wiki entries and blogs). To provide a multifaceted understanding of how the agents construct source credibility in Web 2.0 resources, a number of complementary methods will be used, e.g. focus groups, interviews, a web questionnaire, blog diaries, and text analyses of trade journals and of wiki and blog entries. The project will also include a study of how the material properties of wikis and blogs influence authority. This investigation of the interaction between learning and new tools for information seeking will contribute new theoretical and empirical understanding of practical importance in schools and libraries.

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