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|Title: ||The development of a model of information seeking behaviour of students in higher education when using internet search engines.|
|Authors: ||Martzoukou, Konstantina|
|Supervisors: ||Newton, Robert|
Harper, David J.
Reid, Peter H.
|Issue Date: ||Mar-2006|
|Publisher: ||Robert Gordon University|
|Abstract: ||This thesis develops a model of Web information seeking behaviour of postgraduate students
with a specific focus on Web search engines' use. It extends Marchionini's eight stage model
of information seeking, geared towards electronic environments, to holistically encompass the
physical, cognitive, affective and social dimensions of Web users' behaviour.
The study recognises the uniqueness of the Web environment as a vehicle for information
dissemination and retrieval, drawing on the distinction between information searching and
information seeking and emphasises the importance of following user-centred holistic
approaches to study information seeking behaviour. It reviews the research in the field and
demonstrates that there is no comprehensive model that explains the behaviour of Web users
when employing search engines for information retrieval. The methods followed to develop
the study are explained with a detailed analysis of the four dimensions of information seeking
(physical, cognitive affective, social). Emphasis is placed on the significance of combined
methods (qualitative and quantitative) and the ways in which they can enrich the examination
of human behaviour. This is concluded with a discussion of methodological issues.
The study is supported by an empirical investigation, which examines the relationship
between interactive information retrieval using Web search engines and human information seeking
processes. This investigates the influence of cognitive elements (such as learning and
problem style, and creative ability) and affective characteristics (e. g. confidence, loyalty,
familiarity, ease of use), as well as the role that system experience, domain knowledge and
demographics play in information seeking behaviour and in user overall satisfaction with the
retrieval result. The influence of these factors is analysed by identifying users' patterns of
behaviour and tactics, adopted to solve specific problems.
The findings of the empirical study are incorporated into an enriched information-seeking
model, encompassing use of search engines, which reveals a complex interplay between
physical, cognitive, affective and social elements and that none of these characteristics can be
seen in isolation when attempting to explain the complex phenomenon of information seeking
behaviour. Although the model is presented in a linear fashion the dynamic, reiterative and
circular character of the information seeking process is explained through an emphasis on
transition patterns between the different stages.
The research concludes with a discussion of problems encountered by Web information
seekers which provides detailed analysis of the reasons why users express satisfaction or
dissatisfaction with the results of Web searching, areas in which Web search engines can be
improved and issues related to the need for students to be given additional training and support
are identified. These include planning and organising information, recognising different
dimensions of information intents and needs, emphasising the importance of variety in Web
information seeking, promoting effective formulation of queries and ranking, reducing
overload of information and assisting effective selection of Web sites and critical examination
|Appears in Collections:||Theses (Information Management)|
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