University of Oulu

Evaluating the knowledge acquired from online Q&A sites : an exploratory study

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Author: Wang, Yini1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.4 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : Y. Wang, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-05-09
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Zhao, Li
Reviewer: Rajanen, Dorina
Zhao, Li
When people encounter questions, they often search for answers/solutions from Internet nowadays. Online question and answer (Q&A) sites are helpful for people to seek answers to their questions. On online Q&A sites (such as Stack Overflow), millions of questions have been answered. Sometimes, even one question receives dozens of answers. Evaluation of the knowledge acquired through the answers becomes an important but challenging task for knowledge seekers. This process of knowledge evaluation can be comprehensively understood by revealing all factors that knowledge seekers take into consideration when they evaluate the answers on online Q&A sites. Investigating the knowledge evaluation process on online Q&A sites can not only guide knowledge seekers to acquire knowledge more efficiently, but also shed light on managing the community of online Q&A sites to make them more user friendly. A qualitative research was conducted, in which sixty-seven participants of a large online Q&A sites (i.e., Stack Overflow) were interviewed. The results of data analysis reveal that answer-indicators, living example, lengthiness, empirism, feasibility, readability, source credibility, and recency are important when people evaluate knowledge on online Q&A sites. A dual process is found to be employed by individuals during the knowledge evaluation process on online Q&A sites, in which they assess not only the answer content itself, but also heavily rely on the heuristic cues of the answer. Factors generated through this research also correspond to prior research on information quality.
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Copyright information: © Yini Wang, 2018. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.