Dissertation Information for Andrew D. May
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: Assisting users: An investigation into the computer consulting process
Abstract: The focus of this research is on how novice and expert computer consultants interpret and respond to the written problems presented by novice and expert computer users. The research builds on 3 research areas---cognition in problem solving, novice expert differences, and language use---to converge on a set of constructs for investigating the written interactions of computer users and consultants. Initially, computer consultants were observed while they went about assisting users. A think-aloud protocol was used to collect data about the cognitive processes consultants engage in when assisting computer users using a written description of their computer problem. The problems presented were situations where a user was unable to solve a problem using a means that was previously successful. The results of this research suggests that novices use less common ground building, and more problem solving cognitive resources compared to experts. Expert consultants unfamiliar with solving the user's computer problem resorted to basic troubleshooting methods.
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