What influences online reviews’ perceived information quality?. Perspectives on information richness, emotional polarity and product type

Date01 April 2020
Publication Date01 April 2020
AuthorLinlin Zhu,He Li,Wu He,Chuang Hong
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Information & communications technology,Internet
What inuences online reviews
perceived information quality?
Perspectives on information richness,
emotional polarity and product type
Linlin Zhu and He Li
School of Management, Jilin University, Changchun, China
Wu He
Department of Information Technology and Decision Sciences,
Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA, and
Chuang Hong
School of Management, Jilin University, Changchun, China
Purpose Online reviews presented in the format of multimedia information, such as pictures and videos,
continue to emerge, but whether the richness of multimedia information can enforce the quality of online reviews
has remained uncertain. The purpose of this paper is to examine the differences in the perceived information
quality of online reviews, based on the information richness theory, emotional polarity and product type.
Design/methodology/approach This is a Web-based experiment in which12 groups constructed at
differentlevels of these three factors were designed forthe purpose of obtaining data.
Findings The study results show that under differentpositive and negative emotional polarities, different
information richness and product typeshave different effects on perceived information quality; for different
product types, positive and negative emotional polarity have different effects on perceived information
quality. For searchproducts, the perceived information quality of online reviews with low information
richness is high; under different information richness, different emotional polarity and product types have
differenteffects on perceived information quality.
Practical implications This paper has important practical signicance for the management of e-
commerceplatforms for online reviews.
Originality/value This paper on the perceivedinformation quality of online reviewsputs more focus on
the formal features of online reviews and aims to discover the relationships between different directions for
perceivedinformation quality under the impact of interaction of formats,emotional polarity and product type.
The study hopes to further strengthenthe application of the information richness theory in the eld of online
reviewsresearch and to measure perceived information qualityfrom a variety of aspects.
Keywords Information richness, Emotion, Product type, Analysis of variance,
Perceived information quality, Online review
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
Statistically, electronic word-of-mouth, price and the website or businesss reputation have
become the most common factors for user decision-making in online shopping, having
reached 77.5, 72.2, and 68.7 per cent, respectively (China Internet Network Information
The work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundationof China (grant number: 71974075).
Received6 September 2019
Revised9 January 2020
7 February2020
Accepted13 February 2020
TheElectronic Library
Vol.38 No. 2, 2020
pp. 273-296
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/EL-09-2019-0208
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Center (CNNIC), 2016). In other words, electronic word-of-mouth has become the most
important factor that users consider in online shopping.Online reviews written by users on
the internet are one importantform of electronic word-of-mouth communication (Hajli, 2015),
and they have become a key means for usersto obtain information about specic products
opez and Parra, 2016). Compared with sellers, users are more condent that the
online reviews that they read are more reliable than traditional sources of information
(Floyd et al., 2014). The quality of onlinereviews is critical, and user-generated reviews that
are perceived to be credible, useful and relevant are those that are greatly preferred by
online users. Most previous research has focused on the information on the websites or
online stores, rather than on online reviews.
Online reviews are no longer limited to simple ratings and textual information;
multimedia information, such as pictures and videos, continues to emerge. Many
e-commerce websites encourage customers to provide online reviews in a variety of
methods. To explore whether changes in the differentdegrees of media richness affect user
perception of online review quality, the study conducted a Web-based experiment with 12
different groups with varying levels of information richness, emotional polarity, and
product type. The emotional polarity of an online review means that sentiment text has a
point of view (Wang et al.,2013). Then, a multivariate analysis of variance was used to
analyze the differences in usersperceived quality of online reviews on ten diverse
dimensions. In the study, the relationship between information richness and information
quality of online reviews, combined with emotional polarity and product types, was
conrmed. Moreover, the results revealed that the effect of information richness on
information qualityvaries when there are distinct emotional polarity and product types. The
ndings highlight varioustheoretical and practical implications, both for researchon online
reviews and for the managementof online review platforms and users.
2. Literature review and research hypotheses
2.1 Perceived information quality
The information systemssuccess model proposed the inuence of information quality on the
willingness and satisfaction of information systems (DeLone and McLean, 2003). The
information adoption model involved the impact of information quality on information
usefulness (Sussman and Siegal, 2003), reecting the effectiveness in the exchange of
information betweenpeople or the system (Chang and Yang, 2012). Shih (2004) leveraged the
technology acceptance model and regarded the perceived information quality in internet
shopping as an external variable. Evans and Lindsay (2010) dened information quality as
meeting usersneeds and preferencesand as conforming or exceeding users
It was common that dimensions and the denition of perceived information quality
seemed to appear simultaneously, and that the denition would be determined by what the
dimensions were. Using ontological principles, Massachusetts Institute of Technologys
(MITs) total quality data management program researchers captured the dimensions of
intrinsic, contextual and representational quality, along with the accessibility to measure
perceived information quality (Lee et al.,2002;Wang and Strong, 1996). Considering the
desired characteristics of e-commerce website contents, the measurement of information
quality of an e-commerce system usually considered completeness, accuracy, format,
currency, reliability, exibility, integrity (composed of accuracy and completeness),
accessibility and timeliness (Sharma and Lijuan, 2015;Wixom and Todd, 2005). Thus, the
study mainly measured the perceived information quality from the following dimensions

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