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"Authority, Credibility and Trust in Vegan Blogs: Methods used by Content Creators in the Presentation of Information." L. Machnee. I. Ruthven. Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde. 2019. Download PDF (BibTeX) ILS

Online channels are becoming an increasingly common method used by the public for
health information seeking. Within the online platforms available, user generated content
(UGC) sites such as blogs are an accessible and popular source of information. The
percentage of the world population that follow a vegan lifestyle is also on the rise, leading
to a need for those individuals to understand the quality of the content that they encounter
on UGC sites, as well as for information professionals to understand how to guide these
users in assessing the information.

This study used a survey based approach to analyse six UK based vegan blogs. The
biographical content and two recipe posts from each blog were assessed using content
analysis, discourse analysis and thematic analysis. The analysis examines the methods used
by content creators to give an air of cognitive authority and an impression of credibility to
their content, and how they use personal stories within posts to build a sense of trust and
authenticity with their users.

The research found that writing with confidence, using a positive approach to writing and
referring to personal experiences were methods used to instil an air of authority. The same
methods were used to give an impression of cognitive credibility, as credibility impacts
authority. Personal stories we used to create a sense of trust and authenticity with users by
providing opportunities for users to relate to and make personal connections with content
creators. Content creators shared the positive health benefits of following a vegan lifestyle,
including improved physical and mental health, as well as showcasing ways in which they
have gained a positive reputation in the vegan community.