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Experts vs. Online Consumers: A Comparative Credibility Study of Health and Finance Web Sites

Many researchers have conducted studies on consumers to understand various aspects of Web site credibility. However, some consumers may not be well equipped to make informed decisions about the accuracy of information in technical fields such as health or finance. In fact, previous research in other mediums showed that consumers have had mixed results when judging credibility of information. Given the varying results of previous studies of consumer credibility assessments, we are left wondering whether consumers’ credibility evaluations of Web sites are correct. These evaluations are increasingly important as people use the Web today to carry out a variety of vital tasks and research. Consumers are faced with important decisions about the information sources that they choose to believe for making important health or financial decisions. Do these everyday people know which Web sites are really credible, especially in vital areas such as finance and health? What do industry experts say about the credibility of sites in their fields? And, finally, how do the experts’ assessments compare to how the average person decides which sites to trust?