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shoh {at} email {dot} unc {dot} edu

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Research Interests


My research interests focus on people's collaborative behaviors for seeking and sharing information in online environments. The The particular context that I'm investigating is social Q&A services (e.g., Yahoo! Answers, AnswerBag), which allow people to ask and answer questions, thus sharing information and social support.


In the past, people asked questions of family members, friends, colleagues or experts who were physically near to them and gave them emotional comfort. Nowadays, people use the internet to ask questions of anyone who has experience and expertise. To explore people's characteristics and their information seeking and sharing behaviors in social Q&A, my colleagues and I have conducted several preliminary studies (Kim, Oh & Oh, 2007, 2008; Oh, Oh & Shah, 2008; Shah, Oh & Oh, 2008; Kim & Oh, 2009, Shah, Oh & Oh, in press).


Another important stream of my research is health information seeking and sharing behaviors. Health is one of the most popular topics in everyday life. In a project about the use of personal health records (PHRs) (Wildemuth, et al., 2006), I interviewed patients, elders, and parents with sick children, and gained an understanding of their need to use effective systems for searching and organizing health information. Thus, I developed user interfaces to support PHR management for a specific group, pregnant women and their families (Oh, Sheble, & Choemprayong, 2006), and helped a health company, PogoHealth, to update their PHR user interfaces. This research experience revealed people's heavy dependency on online information sources. In addition, I learned that people are willing to expose their conditions and problems in order to obtain not only information but also social support from others. It led me to choose social Q&A as a research venue where people share thoughts, information, experience and emotions related to health problems, with particular emphasis on health information seeking and sharing behaviors.


In my dissertation research, I'm particularly interested in answerers in social Q&A. They spend their time and effort to answer health questions from anonymous others . I'm studying their motivations and the strategies they use to provide effective answers in health (You can find information about the dissertation research here).



Areas of Interest


* The PDF version of CV is available here.






Inspirational Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams: The Last Lecture of Randy Pausch


INLS 200 Retrieving and Analyzing Information, UNC-CH, SILS (Undergraduate Required Course)

2008 Spring: [Course Syllabus]

2008 Fall: [Course Syllabus]

2009 Spring: [Course Syllabus]

INLS 461 Information Tools, UNC-CH, SILS (Graduate Required Course)

2009 Fall: [Course Syllabus]




Last Updated: 11/05/2009