At TITAN we believe the reliability of online news and information has become a pressing concern. As disinformation proliferates, the need for audiences to engage in critical thinking processes to distinguish truth from falsehood has never been more crucial. A recent paper by our partner VUB titled "To believe or not to believe? Investigating factors that play a role in audiences’ critical thinking process when evaluating the trustworthiness of online news and information" by Aline Duelen, Iris Jennes, and Wendy Van den Broeck, delves into this timely issue.
The research detailed in the paper comes from work within our Horizon Europe TITAN project, which aims to combat disinformation by developing an AI-based engine to encourage audiences' critical thinking processes. The study explores the factors influencing participants' critical thinking when assessing the trustworthiness of online news and information. With a focus on the interplay between these factors, the authors adopt a participatory, human-centered methodology to gain insights into current practices, tactics for handling information overload, and the thought processes behind credibility assessment.
A five-hour co-creation workshop involving a diverse group of 23 participants forms the foundation of this research. The goal was to obtain an in-depth understanding of participants' everyday life practices and the nuanced ways in which they navigate the deluge of information they encounter. By scrutinising current critical thinking processes, the authors aim to shed light on the audience's ability to recognise and counteract disinformation effectively.
The paper promises a dual outcome. First, it presents an overview of the various factors influencing the evaluation of online news and information, with a specific emphasis on the critical thinking processes of the audience. By dissecting the complexities of this interplay, the authors contribute valuable insights into how individuals discern credibility in thedigital landscape.
Secondly, the paper provides a comprehensive assessment of the participative and human-centered methodology employed in this study. Highlighting both advantages and disadvantages, the authors offer a critical reflection on the innovative approach taken towards audience research. This evaluation contributes to the ongoing discourse on methodologies best suited for understanding and addressing the challenges posed by disinformation.