A user-centered approach to evaluating human interaction with web search engines: an exploratory study

Spink, Amanda H. (2002) A user-centered approach to evaluating human interaction with web search engines: an exploratory study. Information Processing and Management, 38(3), pp. 401-426.

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A growing body of studies is developing approaches to evaluating human interaction with Web search engines, including the usability and effectiveness of Web search tools. This study explores a user-centered approach to the evaluation of the Web search engine Inquirus – a Web meta-search tool developed by researchers from the NEC Research Institute. The goal of the study reported in this paper was to develop a user-centered approach to the evaluation including: (1) effectiveness: based on the impact of users' interactions on their information problem and information seeking stage, and (2) usability: including screen layout and system capabilities for users. Twenty-two (22) volunteers searched Inquirus on their own personal information topics. Data analyzed included: (1) user pre- and post-search questionnaires and (2) Inquirus search transaction logs. Key findings include: (1) Inquirus was rated highly by users on various usability measures, (2) all users experienced some level of shift/change in their information problem, information seeking, and personal knowledge due to their Inquirus interaction, (3) different users experienced different levels of change/shift, and (4) the search measure precision did not correlate with other user-based measures. Some users experienced major changes/shifts in various user-based variables, such as information problem or information seeking stage with a search of low precision and vice versa. Implications for the development of user-centered approaches to the evaluation of Web and IR systems and further research are discussed.

Impact and interest:

90 citations in Scopus
51 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 4993
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: information retrieval, search engines, evaluation techniques, searching behaviour
DOI: 10.1016/S0306-4573(01)00036-X
ISSN: 0306-4573
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > LIBRARY AND INFORMATION STUDIES (080700) > Information Retrieval and Web Search (080704)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2002 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 11 Sep 2006 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:34

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