Exploring the informational elements of opinion answers: the case of the Russo-Ukrainian war
Keywords:Information sharing, Online discussion, Online opinion sharing, Question and answers (Q&A) sites
Introduction. The present investigation contributes to information behaviour research by elaborating the nature of opinion as a type of information. To achieve this, the elements of opinion answers available on Quora - a major question and answers (Q&A) forum were analysed.
Method. The empirical findings draw on the qualitative content analysis of 483 opinion answers dealing with the Russo-Ukrainian war. It was examined how the answerers articulated four main elements of opinion answers: (i) the stance taken on an issue or event, (ii) emotional reaction to it, (iii) suggestion for future action, and (iv) grounds used to bolster an opinion.
Results. The answerers most frequently took a neutral or negative stance on the topics articulated in the opinion questions. The emotions expressed in opinion answers were negative, indicative of anger, hate and contempt. The answerers offered a number of suggestions mainly dealing with the ways in which the war could be ended. To bolster their answers, the answerers primarily drew on the views presented by political decision makers such as presidents and ministers. The answerers also supported their views by making references to external information sources and drawing on factual evidence, Moreover, negative evaluation of the qualities of an entity or event was fairly common. The answerers also drew on explanation to make it understandable the war-related events.
Conclusion. Opinion is an important informational category whose significance is probably growing, due to the developments in today´s information and communication environments. In the media, more strongly than before, attention is devoted to people´s opinions, instead of merely emphasizing the role of irrefutable (objective) facts.
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