Relatively little is known about questioning behavior generally and about questioning in electronic environments especially.  Using a thorough analytical framework, this study characterizes the questioning behavior on a consumer health-related electronic list focused on colon cancer.  Data consist of 365 questions included in 1,000 randomly selected messages from Fall 1996.  The analysis looks at the dedication of the list to questioning; the pattern of question asking within a message, specifically the density of questions per message and the dedication of the message to questioning; the type of question (using Arthur Graesser's typology of questions); the length of answer anticipated; the subject of the question (based on Debra Roter's typology of content; the combination of type of question and subject; and the manner of establishing context within the list environment.  The variables and methodological approach for characterizing questioning behavior draw generally on standard schema from linguistics and psychology.  They can be applied with only slight modifications to studies of questioning in other settings and with other types of users, and they establish a basis for comparative studies in questioning behavior.

elec_list.htm  May 16, 2000