Modalities, Motivations, and Materials Investigating Traditional and Social Online Q&A Services

Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Library and Information Science


With the advent of ubiquitous connectivity and a constant flux of user-generated content, people’s online information-seeking behaviours are rapidly changing, one o f which includes seeking information from peers through online questioning. Ways to understand this new behaviour can be broken down into three aspects, also referred to as the three M’s – the modalities (sources and strategies) that people use when asking their questions online, their motivations behind asking these questions and choosing specific services, and the types and quality of the materials (content) generated in such an online Q&A environment. This article will provide a new framework – three M’s – based on the synthesis of relevant literature. It will then identify some of the gaps in our knowledge about online Q&A based on this framework. These gaps will be transformed into six research questions, stemming from the three M’s, and …