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Article
Publication date: 21 June 2019

Rita Marcella, Graeme Baxter and Agnieszka Walicka

The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a study that explored human behaviour in response to political “facts” presented online by political parties in Scotland.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a study that explored human behaviour in response to political “facts” presented online by political parties in Scotland.

Design/methodology/approach

The study consisted of interactive online interviews with 23 citizens in North-East Scotland, in the run-up to the 2017 UK General Election.

Findings

Participants demonstrated cognitive and critical responses to facts but little affective reaction. They judged facts swiftly and largely intuitively, providing evidence that facts are frequently consumed, accepted or rejected without further verification processes. Users demonstrated varying levels of engagement with the information they consume, and subject knowledge may influence the extent to which respondents trust facts, in previously unanticipated ways. Users tended to notice facts with which they disagreed and, in terms of prominence, particularly noted and responded to facts which painted extremely negative or positive pictures. Most acknowledged limitations in capacity to interrogate facts, but some were delusionally confident.

Originality/value

Relatively little empirical research has been conducted exploring the perceived credibility of political or government information online. It is believed that this and a companion study are the first to have specifically investigated the Scottish political arena. This paper presents a new, exploratory fact interrogation model, alongside an expanded information quality awareness model.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 75 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 29 July 2019

Graeme Baxter, Rita Marcella and Agnieszka Walicka

The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a study that explored public perceptions of the credibility of “facts and figures” contained within five social…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a study that explored public perceptions of the credibility of “facts and figures” contained within five social media posts produced by political parties in Scotland.

Design/methodology/approach

The study consisted of an online survey conducted in Spring 2017 (n=538). Respondents were asked to gauge the reliability of “facts” contained within the posts, to provide reasons for their answers, and to indicate how they might go about confirming or debunking the figures.

Findings

Less than half the sample believed the posts’ content would be reliable. Credibility perceptions were influenced by various factors, including: a lack of cited sources; concerns about bias or spin; a lack of detail, definitions or contextual information; personal political allegiance and trust; negative campaign techniques; personal experience of policy issues; and more intuitive judgements. Only small numbers admitted that they would not know how to find out more about the issues or would be disinclined to look further. The majority appeared confident in their own abilities to find further information, yet were vague in describing their search strategies.

Originality/value

Relatively little empirical research has been conducted exploring the perceived credibility of political or government information online. It is believed that this is the first such study to have specifically investigated the Scottish political arena.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 75 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2001

Rita Marcella and Graeme Baxter

Discusses recent and current research into citizenship information needs at the School of Information and Media, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. Reviews the most…

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Abstract

Discusses recent and current research into citizenship information needs at the School of Information and Media, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen. Reviews the most important results from two large‐scale, nation‐wide surveys (funded by the British Library Research and Innovation Centre) of the citizenship information needs of the UK public, highlighting those occasions where the response in Scotland differed significantly from national trends. Outlines a current project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, studying the impact of the use of information and communication technologies on the communication of parliamentary information in the UK, with particular attention being paid to the situation in the three new devolved legislatures – the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly of Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly. The paper summarises the aims and objectives of the current project and provides a preview of the methodologies to be used, including the development of a novel interactive, electronically assisted interview technique.

Details

Library Review, vol. 50 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1997

Rita Marcella, Graeme Baxter, Susan Parker and Sylvie Davies

Compares the selective European information services in France and the UK, stating that whereas France gathers information from official documentation and its…

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462

Abstract

Compares the selective European information services in France and the UK, stating that whereas France gathers information from official documentation and its representations in the EC in Paris and Marseille, the UK got its European information from three surveys, including two degree surveys. Maintains that French academic librarians are Civil Servants employed by central government and have limited access to European Documentation Centres (EDC), unlike their British counterparts whose libraries, over hundreds of years, have evolved into a self‐governing institution, much better funded and able to provide information at local authority level where European responsibility has been significantly added to since the signing of the Single European Act in 1986.

Details

Library Management, vol. 18 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-5124

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Article
Publication date: 16 September 2013

Graeme Baxter, Rita Marcella, Denise Chapman and Alan Fraser

– The purpose of this paper is to report the results of a study of voters' online behaviour conducted during the 2011 Scottish parliamentary election campaign.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report the results of a study of voters' online behaviour conducted during the 2011 Scottish parliamentary election campaign.

Design/methodology/approach

The study used an interactive, electronically-assisted interview method, where 64 citizens were observed and questioned while they searched for, browsed and used information on the web sites and social media sites of political parties and candidates standing for election to the Scottish Parliament.

Findings

While online campaign sites were generally regarded as serving a useful purpose, as being easy to use and understand, relatively interesting and likely to be visited again, there was very little evidence in this study to indicate that they had any significant impact on voting behaviour during the 2011 Scottish campaign. Rather, the participants' comments suggest that more traditional information sources, particularly print and broadcast media, coupled with long-established campaign techniques, such as leaflet deliveries and door knocking, continue to be more influential in determining Scottish voters' democratic choices.

Research limitations/implications

The paper presents results obtained from a sample of 64 citizens of North-east Scotland. As such, the authors would lay no claims to the results of the study being applicable outwith the Scottish setting.

Practical implications

The findings have implications for those candidates successfully elected to the Scottish Parliament, who may have to significantly modify their information practices on entering parliament. The study also has implications for the broader, international, political and information research communities, as it has added to a rather sparse body of qualitative work on voters' online election information needs. The voter-centred methodological approach used in the study has the potential to be used or adopted more widely, to aid our understanding of the use and impact of online campaign tools.

Originality/value

This study forms part of an ongoing series of investigations by the authors, which has examined the use of the internet by political parties and candidates during parliamentary election campaigns in Scotland. These are the only such studies which have looked specifically at the Scottish political arena. Internationally, most studies of users of online campaign resources have been largely quantitative in nature. The qualitative research discussed in this paper is, therefore, particularly timely and potentially significant.

Details

Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives, vol. 65 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0001-253X

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1996

This article has been withdrawn as it was published elsewhere and accidentally duplicated. The original article can be seen here: 10.1108/03074809510147470. When citing…

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1225

Abstract

This article has been withdrawn as it was published elsewhere and accidentally duplicated. The original article can be seen here: 10.1108/03074809510147470. When citing the article, please cite: Graeme Baxter, Douglas Anderson, (1995), “Image indexing and retrieval: some problems and proposed solutions”, New Library World, Vol. 96 Iss: 6, pp. 4 - 13.

Details

Internet Research, vol. 6 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1066-2243

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 1999

Rita Marcella, Iona Carcary and and Graeme Baxter

Investigates attitudes amongst decision makers in the European Parliament to the role of information in their work, and their ability to identify, access and evaluate that…

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802

Abstract

Investigates attitudes amongst decision makers in the European Parliament to the role of information in their work, and their ability to identify, access and evaluate that information most relevant to their needs. Aims to elicit data regarding levels of satisfaction amongst MEPs in relation to information retrieval, and to identify areas of information need which were not being addressed. Describes research methodology and analyses results. Results reveal the wide range of subjects that are of interest to MEPs; that all MEPs have research assistants to help in their work, with an average of 3.5 assistants per MEP; the majority of these assistants are based in the UK and are employed full‐time; and that the most popular sources were unofficial, informal contacts and MEPs’ own files, as opposed to the official EU databases and services. Finds that the main problems faced by MEPs in information retrieval are pressure of time and the overwhelming number and variety of information sources available. Makes recommendations for further research.

Details

Library Management, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-5124

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1996

Rita Marcella, Susan Parker and Graeme Baxter

This article outlines the details of a British Library Research and Development Department funded project on the provision of European Union information in public…

Abstract

This article outlines the details of a British Library Research and Development Department funded project on the provision of European Union information in public libraries in the UK. It explains how European Union information is currently being provided to the public in the EU Public Information Relay and emphasises the issues involved in providing European Union information electronically.

Details

VINE, vol. 26 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0305-5728

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Article
Publication date: 23 October 2007

Rita Marcella, Graeme Baxter, Sylvie Davies and Dick Toornstra

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the results of a customer knowledge study commissioned by the Parliamentary Documentation Centre (PDC) of the European Parliament…

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2265

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the results of a customer knowledge study commissioned by the Parliamentary Documentation Centre (PDC) of the European Parliament in order to elicit a better understanding of the views and needs of its actual and potential client base.

Design/methodology/approach

The study consisted of in‐depth, face‐to‐face interviews with 72 clients and 11 staff (83 individuals) in Brussels in February 2004. The paper explores the significance of information in the parliamentary context and summarises the activities which respondents described as being information‐dependent. The paper also highlights the evolutionary nature of information need during the course of the legislative process.

Findings

The information‐seeking behaviour and skills of the PDC clients are discussed, as are the criteria by which they assess information quality. The study revealed that users were frequently uncritical and pragmatic in use of the most readily available information, sacrificing quality in favour of ease of access.

Originality/value

This paper presents results from a uniquely complex information environment – the European Union. Users tended to be complacent about their information‐seeking skills and reluctant to engage in skills enhancement activities.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 63 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 18 July 2016

Graeme Baxter, Rita Marcella and Mary O'Shea

The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of Twitter by Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) for the provision of constituency-related information, or in…

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1215

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the use of Twitter by Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) for the provision of constituency-related information, or in support of their constituency service work.

Design/methodology/approach

Content analysis of 10,411 tweets sent by the 105 MSPs on Twitter during four weeks in early-2014.

Findings

While there was some evidence of MSPs on Twitter acting as a promoter of local community interests and as a conduit for information on local policy issues and events, their tweets were dominated by the wider, national, political agenda and by the Scottish independence debate. Compared with their online behaviour as parliamentary candidates three years earlier, MSPs placed an even greater emphasis on the one-way broadcast of information to their followers. They were reluctant to respond to contentious local policy questions, or to enter into any visible, meaningful, political debate with their constituents.

Research limitations/implications

Although the research was conducted seven months before the Scottish independence referendum on 18 September 2014, the independence debate still dominated proceedings on Twitter. It might, therefore, be appropriate to revisit MSPs’ use of Twitter at some point during a truer “peacetime” period.

Originality/value

This is the first systematic content analysis of tweets sent by all MSPs on Twitter. It allows the authors to compare their actual Twitter use with that envisaged by the Scottish Parliament, as a way of MSPs communicating about their work and engaging with their constituents.

Details

Aslib Journal of Information Management, vol. 68 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-3806

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