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Place of Health Information and Socio-Emotional Support in Social Questioning and Answering

Title: The Place of Health Information and Socio-Emotional Support in Social Questioning and Answering.
Name(s): Worrall, Adam, author
Oh, Sanghee, author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: serial
Date Issued: 2013
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Introduction. Little is known about the quality of health information in social contexts or how socio-emotional factors impact users' evaluations of quality. We explored how librarians, nurses and users assessed the quality of health answers posted on Yahoo! Answers, focusing on socio-emotional reactions displayed, advice given to users and relationships between socio-emotional support, advice and evaluation criteria.Method. Forty evaluators from each of three groups (librarians, nurses and Yahoo! Answers users) evaluated ten health answers using an online tool. Participants answered open-ended questions asking for overall impressions, suggestions and advice for users and any other comments.
Analysis. Responses were analysed qualitatively using an inductive open coding approach. Emergent codes were developed for evaluation criteria, emotional reactions and advice themes.Results. Criteria matched with previous research, but greater consideration was given to style, sources and subjectivity by participants in this research. Users value social and emotional support and are accepting of the subjectivity of social questioning-and-answering Websites, but librarians and nurses are less accepting.
Conclusion. Both objective and subjective strategies have a place in the seeking, sharing and evaluation of information from social questioning-and-answering sites. Implications exist for design; virtual reference and other library services; and user, patron and patient education.
Identifier: FSU_migr_slis_faculty_publications-0008 (IID)
Keywords: information seeking, information behavior, social questioning and answering, health information, social media, qualitative research, social support, emotional support, socio-emotional support
Note: This is a preprint of a paper published in Information Research at'>"> Paper © the authors (CC BY-NC-ND).
Citation: Worrall, A., & Oh, S. (2013). The place of health information and socio-emotional support in social questioning and answering. Information Research, 18(3). Retrieved from
Subject(s): Information science
Library science
Persistent Link to This Record:
Restrictions on Access:
Owner Institution: FSU
Is Part of Series: iSchool Faculty Publications.
Is Part Of: Information Research.
Issue: 3, 18

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Worrall, A., & Oh, S. (2013). The Place of Health Information and Socio-Emotional Support in Social Questioning and Answering. Information Research. Retrieved from