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Home arrow Engineering arrow Measuring Electronic Word-of-Mouth Effectiveness: Developing and Applying the eWOM Trust Scale
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Main Validation Study (Study 4)

Research Instrument

The purpose of the main study (study 4) was to reassess the scale’s and the individual items’ psychometric properties with new data gathered by means of an online survey (RQ1). In addition, the study strived to answer several research questions targeting the scale’s validity. Hence, various measures for the same and other constructs were included for validation purposes. More specifically, as part of this data-gathering effort, alternative measures of the same construct were included in order to test for convergent validity (RQ3). Also, discriminant validity (RQ4) was assessed by considering measures of constructs similar to eWOM trust that might be confused with the focal construct. Besides concurrent validity (RQ2), this survey also accounted for some nomological aspects by including measures of constructs with which eWOM trust was expected to be linked (i.e., antecedents, consequences, and correlates). Here, asking respondents to evaluate additional items in the same questionnaire helped to test various hypotheses about how the new scale relates to measures of other constructs and to profile eWOM trusters.

The online survey platform SocSci Survey was again deemed adequate for implementing the inquiry. On the front page, the participants were told that the following survey pertains to personal orientations towards online customer reviews as an institution. The instructions also included a definition of customer reviews in order to frame respondents adequately. Additionally, the respondents were informed about the diverse forms of appearance of customer reviews and an explicit but fictitious example for a typical online review was provided. It was made clear that the respondents should not answer the questions in regard to this example, but rather should evaluate their personal attitudes and general perceptions of OCR in general. Before being guided to the actual questionnaire, respondents had to answer a screening question (“Have you been in contact with online customer reviews in the last 6 months?”). It was communicated that the term “contact” is here defined quite broadly, including any forms of perceptions - ranging from consciously reading to coincidentally looking at online customer reviews. Only respondents who answered this question with “yes” were forwarded to further questions, while the others were excluded. This procedure was to ensure that respondents had a minimum of knowledge concerning the object of trust and were familiar with the survey context. Next, the participants were asked to provide some socio-demographic information, including age, gender, country of living, marital status, education, employment area, and income. As the survey intended to draw a representative sample of Internet users from two Central-European, German-speaking countries, some of these variables have been used to classify respondents: quotas have been imposed on age as well as gender (see below for the sample characteristics); only respondents that had a minimum age of 16 and were qualified in terms of the applied quotas were able to continue the actual survey.

The core questionnaire was structured in four subsequent parts: (i) Internet usage patterns; (ii) perceptions of online customer reviews in general; (iii) perceptions of online reviewers; and (iv) perceptions of others in general. Within these sections, several measures of various constructs were included for validation purposes. These measures are described with greater detail below. In general, respondents were forced to provide answers to each of these items. Within each section, items were randomly mixed. The survey concluded by thanking the participants and redirecting them to the webpage of the consumer panel provider. The main questionnaire is available on www.wolfgangweitzl.com. What follows is a description of the operationalizations of the included constructs.

 
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