Web Searching: A Process Orientated Experimental Study of Three Interactive Search Paradigms

Dennis, Simon, Bruza, Peter D., & McArthur, Robert (2002) Web Searching: A Process Orientated Experimental Study of Three Interactive Search Paradigms. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 53(2), pp. 120-133.

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This article compares search effectiveness when using query-based Internet search (via the Google search engine), directory-based search (via Yahoo), and phrase-based query reformulation-assisted search (via the Hyperindex browser) by means of a controlled, user-based experimental study. The focus was to evaluate aspects of the search process. Cognitive load was measured using a secondary digit-monitoring task to quantify the effort of the user in various search states; independent relevance judgements were employed to gauge the quality of the documents accessed during the search process and time was monitored as a function of search state. Results indicated directory-based search does not offer increased relevance over the query-based search (with or without query formulation assistance), and also takes longer. Query reformulation does significantly improve the relevance of the documents through which the user must trawl, particularly when the formulation of query terms is more difficult. However, the improvement in document relevance comes at the cost of increased search time, although this difference is quite small when the search is self-terminated. In addition, the advantage of the query reformulation seems to occur as a consequence of providing more discriminating terms rather than by increasing the length of queries.

Impact and interest:

35 citations in Scopus
20 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 11137
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the journal's website (see hypertext link) or contact the author.
Keywords: user studies, online searching, search time, query formulation, end user searching, query refinement, search engines, World Wide Web, browsing
DOI: 10.1002/asi.10015
ISSN: 1532-2890
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons
Deposited On: 07 Dec 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2011 16:00

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