Cognitive shifts related to interactive information retrieval

Spink, Amanda & Dee, Cheryl (2007) Cognitive shifts related to interactive information retrieval. Online Information Review, 31(6), pp. 845-860.

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Purpose – Interactive information retrieval (IR) involves many human cognitive shifts at different information behaviour levels. Cognitive science defines a cognitive shift or shift in cognitive focus as triggered by the brain's response and change due to some external force. This paper aims to provide an explication of the concept of “cognitive shift” and then report results from a study replicating Spink's study of cognitive shifts during interactive IR. This work aims to generate promising insights into aspects of cognitive shifts during interactive IR and a new IR evaluation measure – information problem shift.

Design/methodology/approach – The study participants (n=9) conducted an online search on an in-depth personal medical information problem. Data analysed included the pre- and post-search questionnaires completed by each study participant. Implications for web services and further research are discussed.

Findings – Key findings replicated the results in Spink's study, including: all study participants reported some level of cognitive shift in their information problem, information seeking and personal knowledge due to their search interaction; and different study participants reported different levels of cognitive shift. Some study participants reported major cognitive shifts in various user-based variables such as information problem or information-seeking stage. Unlike Spink's study, no participant experienced a negative shift in their information problem stage or level of information problem understanding.

Originality/value – This study builds on the previous study by Spink using a different dataset. The paper provides valuable insights for further research into cognitive shifts during interactive IR.

Impact and interest:

11 citations in Scopus
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5 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 47876
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1108/14684520710841801
ISSN: 1468-4527
Copyright Owner: Emerald
Deposited On: 20 Dec 2011 09:44
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:35

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