The technological explosion of information ushered in by the Internet, and more so with online social media (OSM), has provided a forest of personal opinions from which hunters forage. Personal opinions abound in OSM, serving as secondhand knowledge sources that inform everyday decisions. This research proposes a new lens, Cognitive Authority Framework – Quality Information Source (CAF-QIS), to explore the nature, tone, intentions, and believability of OSM postings. The conceptual framework is informed by Wilson’s four dimensions of cognitive authority (CA) combined with the five traditional criteria used as a common (unnamed) model for the identification of information quality in websites, and the added notion of glyphicality. Combined, these criteria serve as a framework for the analysis of opinion documents to determine elements and features that insinuate CA in OSM opinion posts. Content analysis of reviews of veterinarians posted to Yelp! are analyzed using the CAF-QIS model to identify cognitive authority within OSM posts. Findings inform structural and functional development of the nascent framework.

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