Much of the work in business and academia is performed by groups of people. While significant advancement has been achieved in enhancing individual productivity by making use of information technology, little has been done to improve group productivity. Prior research suggests that we should know more about individual differences among group members as they respond to technology if we are to develop useful systems that can support group activities. We report results of a cognitive study in which researchers were observed performing three complex information entry and indexing tasks using an Integrated Collaborative Research System. The observations have revealed a taxonomy of knowledge and cognitive processes involved in the indexing and management of information in a research collaboration environment. A detailed comparison of knowledge elements and cognitive processes exhibited by senior researchers and junior researchers has been made in this article. Based on our empirical findings, we have developed a framework to explain the information management process during research collaboration. Directions for improving design of Integrated Collaborative Research Systems are also suggested.
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