To Ask or Not to Ask, That is The Question: Investigating Methods and Motivations for Online Q&A

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


The popularity of studies conducted on online Q&A services has grown over the past few years. Here, online Q&A services are defined as facilitating an askeranswerer (s) relationship via the Internet, either asynchronously or synchronously. Online Q&A services have traditionally been divided into two separate servicessocial Q&A (SQA) and Virtual Reference (VR) and studied separately, with lack of integrating mixed methods (eg SQA tends to be analyzed quantitatively versus VR, which tends to be analyzed qualitatively) in regard to approach and comparing SQA and VR services to determine whether gaps in one may be used to improve the other. This poster attempts to ameliorate this shortcoming by investigating both of them together using an online survey of 120 users, with a specific focus on the motivations for use of both services to determine (1) who uses online Q&A services and (2) the relationship between use of these services and general web searching behavior.