The place of health information and socio-emotional support in social questioning and answering.

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  • 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.

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    Article (Published)
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    Attribution 4.0 International
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Worrall, A., and Oh, S. (2013). The place of health information and socio-emotional support in social questioning and answering.. Information Research, 18(3), .
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