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Factors affecting assigned information problem ordering during web search: an exploratory study

By Amanda H. Spink, Minsoo Park and Sherry Koshman


Multitasking is the human ability to handle the demands of multiple tasks. Multitasking behavior involves the ordering of multiple tasks and switching between tasks. People often multitask when using information retrieval (IR) technologies as they seek information on more than one information problem over single or multiple search episodes. However, limited studies have examined how people order their information problems, especially during their Web search engine interaction. The aim of our exploratory study was to investigate assigned information problem ordering by forty (40) study participants engaged in Web search. Findings suggest that assigned information problem ordering was influenced by the following factors, including personal interest, problem knowledge, perceived level of information available on the Web, ease of finding information, level of importance and seeking information on information problems in order from general to specific. Personal interest and problem knowledge were the major factors during assigned information problem ordering. Implications of the findings and further research are discussed. The relationship between information problem ordering and gratification theory is an important area for further exploration

Topics: 080704 Information Retrieval and Web Search, information retrieval
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.ipm.2006.01.007
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