Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Graphics Technology

First Advisor

Mihaela Vorvoreanu

Committee Chair

Mihaela Vorvoreanu

Committee Member 1

Colin M. Gray

Committee Member 2

Robert W. Proctor


The purpose of this study was to understand and explore the mental models of Chinese consumers towards e-commerce. A mental model is a representation formed by consumers based on their experience and observation, which finally influence their task performances. Due to the different experiences and contexts, the mental models of Chinese consumers could be various. This study investigated one of the subgroups in depth, which is the upper middle class female in Beijing, China.

To achieve the purpose of the study, a qualitative research was conducted in China, and participants were interviewed about their perceptions of, and experiences with, online shopping. Data collected from the interviews were analyzed using a thematic analysis method in order to group the similarities together and generate themes. After grouping, a mental model was presented in a diagram, with tasks grouped into categories in different mental spaces. The bottom of the diagram showed the support functions for those tasks. The results could provide a deep understanding of this group of consumers and the relation structure between the users and the e-commerce service.