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Knowledge construction by users: A content analysis framework and a knowledge construction process model for virtual product user communities

Xuguang Li (The Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China)
Andrew Cox (University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)
Nigel Ford (University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 13 March 2017

809

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a content analysis framework and from that derive a process model of knowledge construction in the context of virtual product user communities, organization sponsored online forums where product users collaboratively construct knowledge to solve their technical problems.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on a deductive and qualitative content analysis of discussion threads about solving technical problems selected from a series of virtual product user communities. Data are complemented with thematic analysis of interviews with forum members.

Findings

The research develops a content analysis framework for knowledge construction. It is based on a combination of existing codes derived from frameworks developed for computer-supported collaborative learning and new categories identified from the data. Analysis using this framework allows the authors to propose a knowledge construction process model showing how these elements are organized around a typical “trial and error” knowledge construction strategy.

Practical implications

The research makes suggestions about organizations’ management of knowledge activities in virtual product user communities, including moderators’ roles in facilitation.

Originality/value

The paper outlines a new framework for analysing knowledge activities where there is a low level of critical thinking and a model of knowledge construction by trial and error. The new framework and model can be applied in other similar contexts.

Keywords

Citation

Li, X., Cox, A. and Ford, N. (2017), "Knowledge construction by users: A content analysis framework and a knowledge construction process model for virtual product user communities", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 73 No. 2, pp. 284-304. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-05-2016-0060

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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