The role of skepticism among adolescents’ online information literacy skills


The purpose of this study is to explore the role skepticism plays among adolescents’ online information literacy skills.
The authors provide the conceptual grounding to operationalize and measure the notion of skepticism in an online information literacy context. Inspired by an existing measure known as the Skepticism Scale (), the authors made substantial revisions to the scale to target middle school and high school students’ skepticism in six distinct, but related factors: questioning mind; search for knowledge; suspension of judgment; self-esteem; interpersonal understanding; and autonomy. The authors provide preliminary evidence of validity and reliability of the revised Skepticism Scale using Exploratory Factor Analysis and performed multiple linear regression using the Skepticism Scale measures to predict an adolescents’ online information literacy skills.
The Skepticism Scale was found to produce internally consistent constructs for all six measures. Three of the six measures were related to online information literacy skills, including the search for knowledge, interpersonal understanding and questioning mind.
This paper attempts to examine the potentially positive role of skepticism in information literacy skills among adolescents.


Albert Ritzhaupt
University of Florida 

Angela Marie Kohnen
University of Florida 

Christine Wusylko
University of Florida

Xiaoman Wang
University of Florida

Kara Dawson
University of Florida 

Max Sommer
University of Florida