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Home arrow Engineering arrow Measuring Electronic Word-of-Mouth Effectiveness: Developing and Applying the eWOM Trust Scale

Research Instrument

An online questionnaire was implemented by using the SoSci Survey ( website. This online platform has been previously used by various academic studies for data collection. The online survey format was chosen because filling out a questionnaire on the Internet was deemed appropriate for the sample, that is, persons who have some earlier experience with online customer reviews as well as using the Internet for product research and/or online shopping. An online survey hence offers the benefit of a close contextual match and offers an examination of the focal construct in its “natural setting”.

On the introductory web page of the questionnaire, respondents were informed about the rough content and intention of the survey. They were told that they would subsequently be asked a number of questions targeting personal orientations towards online customer reviews in general. On the same page, a definition of OCR as a market information institution and a typical example were provided, in order to clarify the study’s context. On the subsequent pages, respondents were asked to indicate their level of agreement to several Likert-Statements, all being measured on a scale from 0=”I strongly disagree” to 6=”I strongly agree”. The different sections of the questionnaire comprised a series of items concerning respondents’ earlier online experiences, the new measurement instrument, additional eWOM trust proxies, and socio- demographical variables. Specifically, the questionnaire included (i) four items taken from Gefen (2000), Jamal and Naser (2002), and Corbitt et al. (2003), measuring respondents’ Internet experience (“I perceive myself pretty experienced in using the Internet.”; “I am familiar with searching for (products) on the Internet.”; “I know a lot about conducting purchases via the Internet.”; and “I am experienced in conducting purchases via the Internet”); (ii) four items for online customer experience taken from Park et al. (2011) (“I always read online reviews written by other shoppers.”; “I always write down online reviews by myself.”; “I always read online customer reviews when I was shopping.”; and “I frequently use online customer reviews to gather information prior making purchases.”); (iii) the 53 trust in online customer reviews items which have been developed in the identification stage of this research; (iv) five additional items for measuring eWOM trust in general (“The information given in online customer reviews is trustworthy.”; “The information given in online customer reviews is reliable.”; “In general, I trust the information given in online customer reviews.”; “It is safe to trust information given in online customer reviews.”; “I have confidence in online customer reviews.”) adopted from diverse literature (e.g., Soh, 2007); and (v) demographic-related questions, including the respondent’s age, gender, university and study major. Students were also asked to provide their student ID, as well as family name, in order to be awarded course credits. Here, they were explicitly told that the data would be collected separately and wouldn’t be used for further analyses of their person. Since this study’s main interest was to assess the construct’s structure, accompanied by some initial evaluations of the items’ psychometric properties in terms of reliability and validity, this research refrained from including additional measures of other constructs, because of considerations of the questionnaire’s length.

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