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Consider the Source: Receiver-Assigned Attributions of Credibility to Influential Bloggers

Sachs, Aaron M
Committee Members: 
Dr. John Haas
November 2012

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine credibility as it pertains to blogging. While studies have traditionally considered credibility in the context of the material being created, this study examines source credibility in the context of the personality creating the material. Therefore, this study functions primarily as an exploratory study and seeks to present an understanding of source credibility from the perspective of the individuals participating in blogging communities cultivated by influential bloggers. An interview questionnaire was specially developed for this study. Ten participants were selected for this study. Eight of them are females, two of the participants are males. All but one of the participants are Caucasians.

The study’s results show that support for attributions of credibility differing based on receiver gender and ethnicity does not exist. However, there was a difference in the types of credible behavior attributed to the bloggers in this study. Responses concerning the male Hispanic blogger indicate credibly behavior oriented toward providing depth of information, whereas responses concerning the White female blogger indicated an inclination toward a community-centric blog focused on providing a broad range of resources. Due to the limited sample size of this study, the ability to make general statements and infer statistical significance is limited, thus relegating this study to being only useful for exploratory purposes. This study’s results, data interpretation, implications, and possibilities for future research are discussed at length.