The Impact of Time Delay on the Content of Discussions at a Computer- Mediated Ergonomics Conference

Byron C. Huntley *, Andrew Thatcher *
Department of Psychology, School of Human & Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, Wits, 2050, South Africa

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Huntley et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Psychology, School of Human & Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, Wits, 2050, South Africa;; E-mails:,


This study investigates the relationship between the content of computer-mediated discussions and the time delay between online postings. The study aims to broaden understanding of the dynamics of computer-mediated discussion regarding the time delay and the actual content of computer-mediated discussions (Knowledge construction, Social aspects, Number of words, and Number of postings). A sample drawn from the computer-mediated discussions of the CybErg 2005 virtual ergonomics conference served as the data for this study. The Interaction Analysis Model was utilised to analyse the level of knowledge construction in the content of the computer-mediated discussions. The correlation results demonstrate that Knowledge construction, Social aspects and Number of words generated within postings were independent of, and not affected by, the Time delay between the postings and the postings from which the replies were formulated. When greater numbers of words were utilised within postings, this was typically associated with a greater level of knowledge construction. Social aspects in the discussion were found to neither advantage nor disadvantage the overall effectiveness of the computer-mediated discussion.

Keywords: Online discussion, knowledge construction, time delay, Interaction Analysis model, content analysis, social aspects.