Relationship between the nature of the search task types and query reformulation behaviour
Kinley, Khamsum, Tjondronegoro, Dian W., Partridge, Helen L., & Edwards, Sylvia L. (2012) Relationship between the nature of the search task types and query reformulation behaviour. In ADCS 2012 Proceedings of the 7th Australasian Document Computing Symposium, ACM Digital Library, Dunedin, New Zealand, pp. 39-46.
Success of query reformulation and relevant information retrieval depends on many factors, such as users’ prior knowledge, age, gender, and cognitive styles. One of the important factors that affect a user’s query reformulation behaviour is that of the nature of the search tasks. Limited studies have examined the impact of the search task types on query reformulation behaviour while performing Web searches. This paper examines how the nature of the search tasks affects users’ query reformulation behaviour during information searching. The paper reports empirical results from a user study in which 50 participants performed a set of three Web search tasks – exploratory, factorial and abstract. Users’ interactions with search engines were logged by using a monitoring program. 872 unique search queries were classified into five query types – New, Add, Remove, Replace and Repeat. Users submitted fewer queries for the factual task, which accounted for 26%. They completed a higher number of queries (40% of the total queries) while carrying out the exploratory task. A one-way MANOVA test indicated a significant effect of search task types on users’ query reformulation behaviour. In particular, the search task types influenced the manner in which users reformulated the New and Repeat queries.
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