Is this review believable? A study of factors affecting the credibility of online consumer reviews from an ELM perspective

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-635
Journal / PublicationJournal of the Association of Information Systems
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2012


With the ever-increasing popularity of online consumer reviews, understanding what makes an online review believable has attracted increased attention from both academics and practitioners. Drawing on the elaboration likelihood model (ELM), this study examines four information cues used to evaluate the credibility of online reviews: Argument quality, source credibility, review consistency, and review sidedness, under different levels of involvement and expertise. We conducted an online survey that involved users of, a popular online consumer review website, to test the research model empirically. Consistent with previous research, the results reveal that argument quality, a central cue, was the primary factor affecting review credibility. Participants also relied on peripheral cues such as source credibility, review consistency, and review sidedness when evaluating online consumer reviews. Review sidedness had a stronger impact on review credibility when the recipient had a low involvement level and a high expertise level. However, the other interaction effects were not significant. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these results.

Research Area(s)

  • Argument Quality, ELM, Online Consumer Reviews, Review Consistency, Review Credibility, Review Sidedness, Source Credibility