A Study of Mechanisms to Enhance Knowledge Validity in Collaborative Environments

Project: Research

View graph of relations


Web 2.0 sites, where anyone can freely contribute his or her knowledge, are becoming increasingly important as a source of knowledge and as demonstration of a successful form of collaboration online collaboration. The success of these sites has raised concerns about their quality, especially the validity (accuracy) of the knowledge created by a relatively uncoordinated collective. The documented, surprisingly high validity of large Web 2.0 wiki sites begs the question of how such validity can be achieved. While proponents have argued that a large number of contributors enable error detection and removal, data suggests that editor-to-pages ratios for public wikis are quite low, namely about 1-to-40, suggesting the importance of other mechanisms for validity enhancement. Consequently, the purpose of the research proposed here is to find an answer to this question, focusing specifically on mechanisms for knowledge validity enhancement in wikis. The proposed 2-year study will analyze content created in a large public wiki related to travel, using content analysis methods, to empirically validate a model of knowledge validity enhancement. In addition to validity enhancement mechanisms, the model will include contribution patterns (who contributes how much), knowledge development stage (maturity of the knowledge content), and knowledge type (from certain and single-perspective, to uncertain, multi--?perspective and affected by preferences). The empirical test of the proposed model will analyze wiki content in terms of knowledge validity and the mechanisms used to improve validity, such as deletion of inaccuracies, adding of constraints, or integration of multiple points of view. The content analysis will assess the quality of knowledge units within wiki pages over time, and classify the validity enhancing mechanisms used to raise knowledge validity. The study is expected to contribute to theory on knowledge integration and collective intelligence in particular, as well as providing insights to other applications of collective knowledge creation. The research’s practice implications for the creation of Web 2.0 collaboration systems will be of direct interest for China, with its rapidly growing embrace of Web 2.0, such as in very large public wikis or in information and idea exchanges.


Project number9041963
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/1417/08/17