Date of Award

Summer 2003

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems - (Ph.D.)

Department

Information Systems

First Advisor

Starr Roxanne Hiltz

Second Advisor

Murray Turoff

Third Advisor

Jerry Fjermestad

Fourth Advisor

Bartel Albrecht Van de Walle

Fifth Advisor

Ronald E. Rice

Abstract

This research focuses on how to build a "list" structure to combine individual items of information into some sort of structure that converts the individual items of information into a structure of knowledge relative to the problem. Software was designed to provide relationships among and comparisons of the contributions in a "list" structure, so that individual members of a group process will be able to understand the contributions of information made by the group as a whole.

A List Gathering Tool was designed and implemented, which is one component in a Web-based Social Decision Support System (SDSS) Toolkit. Then, a two-by-two factorial design (list tool support vs. no list tool support, and voting tool support vs. no voting tool support, respectively) controlled experiment and several field studies were carried out to assess the effects of this List Gathering Tool in a group problem solving process.

Overall, the evaluation results are encouraging. The utilization of the List Gathering Tool or the SDSS Toolkit does tend to improve the ability to discover valid alternatives. An additional set of field trials illustrated how the SDSS Toolkit can be utilized in a collaborative learning environment to improve teaching and students' learning experience. This system will also work for very practical applications in large group settings.

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