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Article

Chirag Shah, Chathra Hendahewa and Roberto González-Ibáñez

The purpose of this paper is to investigate when and how people working collaboratively could be assisted in a fact-finding task, specifically focusing on team size and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate when and how people working collaboratively could be assisted in a fact-finding task, specifically focusing on team size and its effect on the outcomes of such a task. This is a follow-up to a previously published study that examined exploratory search tasks.

Design/methodology/approach

This research investigates the effects of team size on fact-finding tasks using a lab study involving 68 participants – 12 individuals, ten dyads, and 12 triads. The evaluation framework developed in the preceding work is used to compare the findings with respect to the earlier traditional exploratory task (Task 1) and the complex fact-finding task reported here (Task 2), with task type being the only difference.

Findings

The analyses of the user study data show that while adding more people to an exploratory search task could be beneficial in terms of efficiency and effectiveness, such findings do not apply in a complex fact-finding task. Indeed, results showed that the individuals were more efficient and effective doing Task 2 than they were in Task 1. Moreover, they outperformed the dyads and triads in Task 2 with respect to these two measures, which relate to the coverage of useful information and its relation to the expression of information needs. If the total time taken by each team is disregarded, the dyads and triads did better than the individuals in answering the fact-finding questions. But considering the time effect, this performance boost does not keep up with the increased group size.

Originality/value

The findings shed light not only on when, how, and why certain collaborations become successful, but also how team size affects specific aspects of information seeking, including information exposure, information relevancy, information search, and performance. This has implications for system designers, information managers, and educators. The presented work is novel in that it is the first empirical work to show the difference in individual and collaborative work (by dyads and triads) between exploratory and fact-finding tasks.

Details

Aslib Journal of Information Management, vol. 69 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-3806

Keywords

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Article

Chris Leeder and Chirag Shah

The purpose of this paper is to gain a better understanding of the collaborative information seeking (CIS) behaviors of students conducting authentic group work projects…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to gain a better understanding of the collaborative information seeking (CIS) behaviors of students conducting authentic group work projects, and the features of a collaborative search system that are most useful to these students.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory study was conducted with 41 participants in ten groups working on an in class, for-credit group project assignment utilizing a collaborative search system. Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered on the everyday search practices of students over the course of the group project, along with quality scores for the sources found.

Findings

Results showed that student behavior during their CIS related to the quality of their search outcomes, as the effective and efficient searchers found better quality sources. Students’ pre-task attitudes and experiences toward group work also relate to the quality of their search outcomes. Student feedback demonstrated the importance of making collaborative search tools convenient, lightweight, and easy to use.

Practical implications

These findings may be useful to researchers designing and studying the effectiveness of collaborative search tools, and to instructors planning to incorporate group projects into their classes.

Originality/value

In this paper, the authors document the authentic behaviors and attitudes of students conducting group projects in an classroom setting, and offer specific recommendations for developers of collaborative search systems. These findings provide greater context for CIS research into the collaborative search behaviors of students conducting group work projects.

Details

Aslib Journal of Information Management, vol. 68 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-3806

Keywords

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Article

Soumik Mandal, Chirag Shah, Stephanie Peña-Alves, Michael L. Hecht, Shannon D. Glenn, Anne E. Ray and Kathryn Greene

Engagement is a critical metric to the effectiveness of online health messages. This paper explores how people engage in youth-generated prevention messages in social media.

Abstract

Purpose

Engagement is a critical metric to the effectiveness of online health messages. This paper explores how people engage in youth-generated prevention messages in social media.

Design/methodology/approach

The data sample consisted of engagement measures of 82 youth-generated messages hosted in a social media channel and a follow-up survey on content creators' motivation for promoting their messages and their dissemination strategies. A comparative analysis of engagement metrics along with qualitative analysis of the message types was performed.

Findings

Two types of messages were considered: stop messages and prevent messages. Our analyses found that people interacted with stop messages on social media more frequently than prevent messages. On analyzing the youth's motivation and promotion strategies, no significant difference was observed between stop message creators and prevent message creators.

Social implications

This work has implications for programs promoting prevention and health information in social media.

Originality/value

This is the first study in social media-based prevention programs the authors are aware of that differentiated between the strategies of youth-produced prevention messages.

Details

Aslib Journal of Information Management, vol. 73 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-3806

Keywords

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Article

Yiwei Wang and Chirag Shah

People face barriers and failures in various kinds of information seeking experiences. These are often attributed to either the information seeker or the system/service…

Abstract

Purpose

People face barriers and failures in various kinds of information seeking experiences. These are often attributed to either the information seeker or the system/service they use. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how and why individuals fail to fulfill their information needs in all contexts and situations. It addresses the limitations of existing studies in examining the context of the task and information seeker’s strategy and seeks to gain a holistic understanding of information seeking barriers and failures.

Design/methodology/approach

The primary method used for this investigation is a qualitative survey, in which 63 participants provided 208 real life examples of failures in information seeking. After analyzing the survey data, ten semi-structured interviews with another group of participants were conducted to further examine the survey findings. Data were analyzed using various theoretical frameworks of tasks, strategies, and barriers.

Findings

A careful examination of aspects of tasks, barriers, and strategies identified from the examples revealed that a wide range of external and internal factors caused people’s failures. These factors were also caused or affected by multiple aspects of information seekers’ tasks and strategies. People’s information needs were often too contextual and specific to be fulfilled by the information retrieved. Other barriers, such as time constraint and institutional restrictions, also intensified the problem.

Originality/value

This paper highlights the importance of considering the information seeking episodes in which individuals fail to fulfill their needs in a holistic approach by analyzing their tasks, information needs, strategies, and obstacles. The modified theoretical frameworks and the coding methods used could also be instrumental for future research.

Details

Aslib Journal of Information Management, vol. 69 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-3806

Keywords

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Article

Chirag Shah

Online collaboration – a required method for many problem-solving situations in today’s work environments – has many aspects that are not clearly understood or explored…

Abstract

Purpose

Online collaboration – a required method for many problem-solving situations in today’s work environments – has many aspects that are not clearly understood or explored. One of them is how work styles, specifically leadership styles, within a seemingly homogeneous teams with no prior role assignments affects the process and outcomes of collaboration. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the aspect of online collaboration to learn how different leadership styles that may emerge impact collaborative work.

Design/methodology/approach

The work described here employs a user study involving 84 participants in 42 pairs, working in one of the three conditions across two sessions. The three conditions are defined based on the amount and the kind of awareness provided to the team members: no awareness of personal or team progress (C1), awareness of personal progress (C2), and awareness of both personal and team progress (C3). The log and chat data from the sessions where these teams work in collecting relevant information for two different topics are collected and analysed.

Findings

Quantitative and qualitative analyses indicate the difference among the three conditions with respect to these two leadership styles. Specifically, it is found that those with the team awareness provided to them (C3) exhibited the least amounts of leadership, keeping the team relatively symmetric. The democratic nature of such teams also fostered more diverse searching behaviour and less need for communication.

Originality/value

The work reported here is a first attempt to shed light on two kinds of connections: individual and team awareness to leadership style, and leadership style to diversity of information exploration.

Details

Aslib Journal of Information Management, vol. 68 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-3806

Keywords

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Article

Chirag Shah, Chathra Hendahewa and Roberto González-Ibáñez

The purpose of this paper is to investigate when and how people working in collaboration could be benefitted by an exploratory search task, specifically focussing on team…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate when and how people working in collaboration could be benefitted by an exploratory search task, specifically focussing on team size and its effect on the outcomes of such a task.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper investigates the effects of team sizes on exploratory search tasks using a lab study involving 68 participants – 12 individuals, ten dyads, and 12 triads. In order to assess various factors during their exploratory search sessions, an evaluation framework is synthesized using relevant literature. The framework consists of measures for five groups of quantities relevant to exploratory search: information exposure, information relevancy, information search, performance, and learning.

Findings

The analyses on the user study data using the proposed framework reveals that while individuals working alone cover more information than those working in teams, the teams (dyads and triads) are able to achieve better information coverage and search performance due to their collaborative strategies. In many of the measures, the triads are found to be even better than the dyads, demonstrating the value of adding a collaborator to a search process with multiple facets.

Originality/value

The findings shed light on not only how collaborative work could help in achieving better results in exploratory search, but also how team sizes affect specific aspects – information exposure, information relevancy, information search, performance, and learning – of exploratory search. This has implications for system designers, information managers, and educators.

Details

Aslib Journal of Information Management, vol. 67 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-3806

Keywords

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Book part

Chirag Shah

Collaboration is often required for activities that are too complex or difficult to be dealt with by a single individual. Many situations requiring information-seeking…

Abstract

Collaboration is often required for activities that are too complex or difficult to be dealt with by a single individual. Many situations requiring information-seeking activities also call for people to work together. Often the methods, systems, and tools that provide access to information assume that they are used only by individuals working on their tasks alone. This review points to the need to acknowledge the importance of collaboration in information-seeking processes, to study models, and to develop systems that are specifically designed to enable collaborative information seeking (CIS) tasks. This chapter reviews the literature from various domains including library and information science, human–computer interaction, collaborative systems, and information retrieval. Focus of the review is on the extent to which people work together on information seeking tasks and the systems and tools that are available for them to be successful. Since CIS occurs in the broader context of collaboration in general, a review of literature about collaborations is first undertaken to define it and place it into context with related terms such as cooperation and communication. A more focused review of research follows relating CIS to systems that have attempted to support such interactions. Included are identification and synthesis of a number of core issues in the field and how best to evaluate systems and collaborative tools. Key lessons learned from the review are summarized, and gaps in the literature identified to spur future research and study.

Details

Advances in Librarianship
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-979-4

Content available
Article

Abstract

Details

Library Hi Tech News, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0741-9058

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Book part

As a new editor faced with a short deadline, it was gratifying to receive a large number of outstanding submissions in the past 6 months. This volume focuses on topics…

Abstract

As a new editor faced with a short deadline, it was gratifying to receive a large number of outstanding submissions in the past 6 months. This volume focuses on topics that push the edge in our increasingly electronically driven world. Not only is the field of library and information science awash in changes wrought by rapidly evolving technologies but so are almost all sectors that touch our daily lives. From e-banking to movies delivered through Wii and to smart phones with webcams and GPS applications, we face complexities that can paralyze us or make us embrace the digital environment. As our information environment becomes enriched, so do the challenges of keeping current as individuals and as librarians and information scientists. The most troublesome quandary is how we can learn from these early days of becoming digital to plan and accept changes in our work, our learning environments, and our personal and family lives. Just as industrialization changed the world a century ago, the digital explosion is causing another radical shift in our world.

Details

Advances in Librarianship
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-979-4

Content available

Abstract

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 69 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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