Are you ‘Information Literate’?

It’s much easier to make a credible looking website than it is to make a credible looking book. So when you’re on the web, how do you evaluate the credibility of the information you’ve found? On average, it seems, not very well!

Research carried out a couple of years ago found that people use only superficial cues when making judgements about a site. In other words, if it looks professional, then it is. People are generally ‘cognitive misers’, tending not to check the credentials of the author or their motivation in making the information available. The new buzz phrase for this type of skill is ‘information literacy’.

One immediate practical implication is that every organisation needs a professional looking website or visitors won’t take it seriously.
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About the author

Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog and His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick". You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

Published: 13 February 2005

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