As a significant source of knowledge, virtual communities have stimulated interest in knowledge management research. Nonetheless, very few studies to date have examined the demand-side knowledge perspective such as knowledge acquisition in virtual communities. In order to explore the knowledge acquisition process within virtual communities, this study proposes the cognitive selection framework of knowledge acquisition strategy in virtual communities. The proposed framework identifies how knowledge recipients select their strategy for acquiring specialized knowledge, emphasizing cognitive perspectives such as cognitive goals (cognitive replication and innovation) and cognitive motivators (virtual community self-efficacy, heightened enjoyment, and time resources) at the individual level. On analyzing the preliminary data, we obtain findings that suggest that knowledge recipients' cognitive motivators differentially influence their cognitive goals for selecting knowledge acquisition strategy. However, in order to empirically examine the hypotheses identified in this study, further research is still needed.