Using unique data about how a diverse group of young adults looks for and evaluates Web content, this paper makes contributions to existing literature by highlighting factors beyond site features in how users assess credibility. The findings suggest that students rely greatly on search engine brands to guide them to what they then perceive as credible material simply due to the fact that the destination page rose to the top of the results listings of their preferred search engine. Users also rely on brands in other contexts, from going directly to the Web sites of offline brands with an online presence to online-only brands with which they have prior experience. The paper also discuss that users differ considerably in their skills when it comes to judging online content credibility.
Hargittai, E., Fullerton, L. Menchen-Trevino, E., & Thomas, K. Y. (2010). Trust online: Young adults’ evaluation of web content. International Journal of Communication, 4, 468-494. http://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/download/636/423