The quality vs. accessibility debate revisited

A contingency perspective on human information source selection

L. Woudstra, B. van den Hooff, Alexander Schouten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Previous studies have not fully investigated the role of source accessibility versus source quality in the selection of information sources. It remains unclear what their (relative) importance is. Three different models have been identified: (a) an exclusively accessibility-driven model, (b) a cost-benefit model in which both accessibility and quality are significant influences, and (c) an exclusively quality-driven model. Moreover, the conditions under which accessibility and quality are important are not well understood. The goal of our study is to shed more light on both issues by assessing the role of different dimensions of accessibility and quality and how their importance is affected by time pressure. We conducted a policy-capturing study in which 89 financial specialists participated. Each judged 20 scenarios in which the accessibility and quality of human information sources, as well as time pressure, were manipulated. Results showed that both accessibility and quality affect the likelihood of asking a human information source for information. Moreover, although the weights attached to physical accessibility and the source's perceived technical quality were indeed moderated by time pressure, in both conditions we find support for a cost-benefit model of information seeking, in which both accessibility and quality are significant influences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2060-2071
JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Volume67
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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abstract = "Previous studies have not fully investigated the role of source accessibility versus source quality in the selection of information sources. It remains unclear what their (relative) importance is. Three different models have been identified: (a) an exclusively accessibility-driven model, (b) a cost-benefit model in which both accessibility and quality are significant influences, and (c) an exclusively quality-driven model. Moreover, the conditions under which accessibility and quality are important are not well understood. The goal of our study is to shed more light on both issues by assessing the role of different dimensions of accessibility and quality and how their importance is affected by time pressure. We conducted a policy-capturing study in which 89 financial specialists participated. Each judged 20 scenarios in which the accessibility and quality of human information sources, as well as time pressure, were manipulated. Results showed that both accessibility and quality affect the likelihood of asking a human information source for information. Moreover, although the weights attached to physical accessibility and the source's perceived technical quality were indeed moderated by time pressure, in both conditions we find support for a cost-benefit model of information seeking, in which both accessibility and quality are significant influences.",
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The quality vs. accessibility debate revisited : A contingency perspective on human information source selection. / Woudstra, L.; van den Hooff, B.; Schouten, Alexander.

In: Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Vol. 67, No. 9, 2016, p. 2060-2071.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AB - Previous studies have not fully investigated the role of source accessibility versus source quality in the selection of information sources. It remains unclear what their (relative) importance is. Three different models have been identified: (a) an exclusively accessibility-driven model, (b) a cost-benefit model in which both accessibility and quality are significant influences, and (c) an exclusively quality-driven model. Moreover, the conditions under which accessibility and quality are important are not well understood. The goal of our study is to shed more light on both issues by assessing the role of different dimensions of accessibility and quality and how their importance is affected by time pressure. We conducted a policy-capturing study in which 89 financial specialists participated. Each judged 20 scenarios in which the accessibility and quality of human information sources, as well as time pressure, were manipulated. Results showed that both accessibility and quality affect the likelihood of asking a human information source for information. Moreover, although the weights attached to physical accessibility and the source's perceived technical quality were indeed moderated by time pressure, in both conditions we find support for a cost-benefit model of information seeking, in which both accessibility and quality are significant influences.

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