A framework for understanding trust factors in web-based health advice

Elizabeth Sillence, Pamela Briggs, Lesley Fishwick, Peter Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a staged model for understanding trust factors in online environments and allows predictions to be made concerning consumer engagement with health websites. Its validation is based on an extensive methodology enabling in-depth testing. The paper considers whether it is design factors or content factors that lead to website engagement and concludes both are important at different stages of the trust process. The research addresses two key interests and practices; the issue of trust and the Internet and the design of appropriate methodologies for investigating consumers’ real life engagement with technology. The issue of how consumers decide to trust websites is a key research interest for Sillence. Her theoretical model shows that trust is a developmental process consisting of distinct stages, where different factors are important. Design factors influence the initial stage of engagement with a website. Sillence and colleagues fron CfDR and PactLab tppk a toolbox approach to the selection of appropriate techniques for data collection. The paper was part of a £153k ESRC grant, where Sillence was lead researcher and devised the predictive framework idea. The paper builds on earlier work examining sections of the trust model within specific health topics: Sillence, E., Briggs, P. Harris, P. R, Fishwick, L. (2007). How do patients evaluate and make use of online health information? Social Science and Medicine, 64, 1853-1862 Sillence, E., Briggs, P. Harris, P, Fishwick, L. (2007). Going online for health advice: Changes in usage and trust practices over the last five years. Interacting with Computers, 19, 397-406. Sillence, E., Briggs, P. Harris, P, Fishwick, L. (2007). Health websites that people can trust - the case of Hypertension. Interacting with Computers , Special Issue on ‘Moving Face-to-Face Communication to Web-based Systems’, 19, 32-42.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-713
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Studies
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006


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