- Disease-specific Information Needs and Use (2012 - present)
- PI: Sanghee Oh, sponsored by CRC, FSU (2012 COFRS Grant, $14,000).
- Cancer Information Needs (Co-PI: Yan Zhang, University of Texas at Austin)
- Information Needs on Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
- Use of Social Media in Health Information Seeking & Sharing (2012 - present).
- Quality Evaluation of Health Answers in Social Q&A (2011-present)
- Motivations & Strategies for Information Sharing in Social Q&A (2010-present)
- Health-Related Web Resource Selection Behaviors of Social Media Users (2010- present)
- PI: Sue Yeon Syn, Catholic University of America, USA, Co-PI: Sanghee Oh
- A Comparison of Yahoo! Answers, Delicious & Twitter
The advent of Web 2.0 has dramatically changed the way people handle information. Traditional Internet technology allows people to access the sheer volume of information on the Internet, but it is limited in ways to search for information. A fine line between information providers and information users exists, and most of the Internet population falls into the user group. In the Web 2.0 era, however, new applications and tools enable ordinary people to actively participate in creating and disseminating various types of content on the Web. The concept of the Wisdom of Crowds (Surowiecki, 2004) , in which small contributions made by a large number of people can be better than the contributions of a few experts, serves as the fundamental principle for developing social software to encourage massive collaboration among Internet users generating information and knowledge on almost every topic in the world.
Social Q&A is an online service enabled by Web 2.0 principles. It is purposefully designed to support human-mediated question asking and answering (Q&A) in online environments. It allows people to ask questions and lets other users of the services respond to questions. In fact, human-mediated Q&A services existed prior to the advent of social Q&A. Reference librarians receive questions from clients and assist them in finding information. Thanks to the new technologies of the Internet, digital reference services enable people to access reference librarians more easily and conveniently. In addition, a number of online Q&A services are available to assist Internet users, such as online help for customer services in commercial Websites, and expert services which respond to questions in certain domains. In the traditional online Q&A environments, a few information experts, librarians, or consultants who have been officially trained or qualified with certain degrees or certificates have been responding to answer questions asked by a majority of people on the Web.
The most unique characteristic of social Q&A, as distinct from these traditional Q&A services, however, is that all of the questions are answered by fellow users. Answerers are those who voluntarily spend their time and effort to answer questions asked by others. They intentionally visit a certain social Q&A service, read a list of questions in a certain domain in which they are interested, select questions to answer, and provide customized answers responding to the needs of questioners, consulting their own knowledge or experiences. No degree or training or controlling process to evaluate the qualifications of answerers is necessary to provide answers in social Q&A. It disregards the stereotypes of answerers in traditional environments, and throws questions to the public totally depending on the effect of the Wisdom of Crowds. Despite the concerns of credibility, truthfulness, and responsibility of answers in the online environment, it has been successful, drawing the attention of Internet users, and the usage of the social Q&A services has dramatically increased. In particular, in the United States, the market share of social Q&A services among other Web services increased 889 percent over the past two years (Hitwise, 2008).
As the popularity of social Q&A has grown, so have the interests of researchers trying to understand the context for this phenomenon. Although the number of social Q&A studies is still relatively small due to its short history, a variety of topics in research have been introduced over recent years, focusing on users, content, and systems in social Q&A. However, there are few studies which delve into answerers as the main subject of research. The active contribution of answerers is the key component of the success of social Q&A services, because the answerers are in charge of creating the content of the information and the knowledge in the answers. Questions will not be resolved until answerers provide appropriate information. The greater the number and the higher the quality of answers provided, the more the service can thrive.
In order to understand better of people's behavors of asking and answering questions in social Q&A, I conducted a series of studies. This Website provides information about the studies.