Asking for more than an answer: What do askers expect in online Q&A services?

Erik Choi, Chirag Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Q&A services allow one to express an information need in the form of a natural language question and seek information from users of those services. Despite a recent rise in the research related to various issues of online Q&A, there is still a lack of consideration for how the situational context behind asking a question affects quality judgements. By focusing on users' expectations when asking a question, the work reported here builds on a framework of understanding how people assess information. Mixed method analysis - employing sequentially the Internet-based survey, diary and interviews - was used in a study to investigate this issue. A total of 226 online Q&A users participated in the study, and it was found that looking for quick responses, looking for additional or alternative information, and looking for accurate or complete information were the primary expectations of the askers. Findings can help identify why and how users engage in information seeking within an online Q&A context, and may help develop more comprehensive personalised approaches to deriving information relevance and satisfaction that include user expectations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-435
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Information Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


  • online question-answering
  • social Q&A
  • user expectation
  • user-generated content


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