START Conference Manager    

ASIST 2012 Annual Meeting 
Baltimore, MD, October 26-30, 2012

Quality of Health Answers in Social Q&A
Sanghee Oh, Yong Jeong Yi and Adam Worrall

Tuesday, 1:30pm


The purpose of the current study is to investigate perceptions regarding the quality of online health answers that people share in social contexts. The current study differs from previous studies by focusing on the topic of health, comparing the evaluations of users against experts. Three groups of participants-librarians, nurses, and users of Yahoo! Answers-were invited to assess the quality of health answers posted in Yahoo! Answers. Forty participants from each group reviewed a total of 400 health answers, rating them with a 5-points Likert scale according to 10 evaluation criteria: accuracy, completeness, relevance, objectivity, source credibility, readability, politeness, confidence, knowledge, and efforts. Findings indicated that there was no significant difference of the quality ratings between librarians and nurses. There was, however, significant difference between those two expert groups (librarians and nurses) and users. Librarians and nurses rated the quality of answers lower on most of the evaluation criteria than users. This research will help librarians and nurses better understand how laypeople, such as their patrons and patients, evaluate online health information in social contexts, leading to the offering of better health information services to these audiences.