Another article in the July Communications of the ACM caught my attention. The Effects of Web-based Technologies on Knowledge Transfer by Waymond Rodgers and Solomon Negash. The pull quote gives a hint at what they explored:
Does using enhanced web-based services increase problem-solving skills?
This research looked at "web-based services" of the type that companies provide their customers: FAQ's, tutorials, user discussion forums and search. They found that, in general, the companies that offer "good" information and interaction draw people back to the website. This, in turn, increases their satisfaction with the information provided and on their retention of knowledge gained through interaction with the website.
I would like to see more information about how they categorize useful (high quality) information and how that related to repeat visits and to usefulness of the knowledge/information gained by the users. It almost seems too obvious to say that with a better website (information quality, usability, apparent responsiveness) that more knowledge is transferred.
What really drew my attention was the assumption that they were going to talk the use of the web in general would relate to knowledge transfer, but then that study would be rather interesting to construct. What would the control group look like?