Grace YoungJoo Jeon, Soo Young Rieh
University of Michigan, United States of America

Monday, November 9, 3:30pm

Recent advancements in social technologies allow information seekers to reach out to a larger, more distributed group of people online when searching for information. In this study, people’s question-asking behavior using a social Q&A service is conceptualized as social search behavior. We are particularly interested in investigating social search goals, strategies, tactics, informational outcomes, and social outcomes. We collected a total of 406 questions posted on Yahoo! Answers by 78 participants over one week. Interviews based on those questions and answers they received were conducted and content-analyzed. We identify five distinct search strategies and 15 tactics positioned on a continuum of two different dimensions in terms of answer quantity and answer quality. Pursuit of quantity or quality is influenced by five categories of goals identified in this study. The goals and associated strategies and tactics also influence people’s perceived informational outcomes and social outcomes. Contributions of this study to the social search research community and implications for practitioners in the area of social Q&A services are discussed.