Graduate Program

Curriculum and Instruction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Semester of Degree Completion

Spring 2020

Thesis Director

John H. Bickford III

Thesis Committee Member

Melinda A. Mueller

Thesis Committee Member

Melissa Ames


The shift from print to digital environments has created an opportunity and responsibility for educators to focus on instructional planning and practices that reflects the growing complexity of online texts students helping to ensure that their students are information literate. The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore the how 83 eleventh grade high school English students judge the credibility of information on the internet. The researcher used methodological triangulation to qualitatively analyze by comparing and aligning data from the survey results, observations of students during class discussions, responses to class assignments, and the quality ratings of students’ think-aloud documents. Findings show that the struggles of teens to effectively judge the credibility of information on the internet fall into four categories. The four categories are student aptitude: skill level, experience, interest, efficacy, motivation; writing style analysis: tone, purpose, bias; student epistemological stance confirmation bias and source scrutiny analysis; source scrutiny. The author discusses how the findings may contribute to our understanding of how students judge the credibility of information on the internet and the need to further explore the best ways for students to utilize old and new strategies for consuming information.