Effects of task complexity on online search behavior of adolescents

Jaap Walhout*, Paola Oomen, Halszka Jarodzka, Saskia Brand-Gruwel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Evaluation of information during information problem solving processes already starts when trying to select the appropriate search result on a search engine results page (SERP). Up to now, research has mainly focused on the evaluation of webpages while the evaluation of SERPs received less attention. Furthermore, task complexity is often not taken into account. A within subjects design was used to study the influence of task complexity on search query formulation, evaluation of search results and task performance. Three search tasks were used: a fact-finding, cause–effect, and a controversial topic task. To measure perceptual search processes, we used a combination of log files, eye-tracking data, answer forms and think aloud protocols. Results reveal that an increase in task complexity results in more search queries and used keywords, more time to formulate search queries and more considered search results on the SERPs. Furthermore, higher ranked search results were considered more often than lower ranked results. However, not all the results for the most complex task were in line with the expectations. These conflicting results can be explained by a lack of prior knowledge and the possible interference of prior attitudes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1449-1461
Number of pages13
JournalAssociation for Information Science and Technology
Volume68
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

Fingerprint

Search engines
Network protocols

Keywords

  • web search
  • eye tracking

Cite this

@article{8278254117994b128de985ee104a179b,
title = "Effects of task complexity on online search behavior of adolescents",
abstract = "Evaluation of information during information problem solving processes already starts when trying to select the appropriate search result on a search engine results page (SERP). Up to now, research has mainly focused on the evaluation of webpages while the evaluation of SERPs received less attention. Furthermore, task complexity is often not taken into account. A within subjects design was used to study the influence of task complexity on search query formulation, evaluation of search results and task performance. Three search tasks were used: a fact-finding, cause–effect, and a controversial topic task. To measure perceptual search processes, we used a combination of log files, eye-tracking data, answer forms and think aloud protocols. Results reveal that an increase in task complexity results in more search queries and used keywords, more time to formulate search queries and more considered search results on the SERPs. Furthermore, higher ranked search results were considered more often than lower ranked results. However, not all the results for the most complex task were in line with the expectations. These conflicting results can be explained by a lack of prior knowledge and the possible interference of prior attitudes.",
keywords = "web search, eye tracking",
author = "Jaap Walhout and Paola Oomen and Halszka Jarodzka and Saskia Brand-Gruwel",
note = "DS_Citation:Walhout, J.,Oomen, P., Jarodzka, H., & Brand-Gruwel, S. (2017). Effects of task complexity on online search behavior of adolescents. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 68, 1449-1461.",
year = "2017",
month = "6",
doi = "10.1002/asi.23782",
language = "English",
volume = "68",
pages = "1449--1461",
journal = "Association for Information Science and Technology",
issn = "2330-1635",
publisher = "John Wiley and Sons Ltd",
number = "6",

}

Effects of task complexity on online search behavior of adolescents. / Walhout, Jaap; Oomen, Paola; Jarodzka, Halszka; Brand-Gruwel, Saskia.

In: Association for Information Science and Technology, Vol. 68, No. 6, 06.2017, p. 1449-1461.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Effects of task complexity on online search behavior of adolescents

AU - Walhout, Jaap

AU - Oomen, Paola

AU - Jarodzka, Halszka

AU - Brand-Gruwel, Saskia

N1 - DS_Citation:Walhout, J.,Oomen, P., Jarodzka, H., & Brand-Gruwel, S. (2017). Effects of task complexity on online search behavior of adolescents. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 68, 1449-1461.

PY - 2017/6

Y1 - 2017/6

N2 - Evaluation of information during information problem solving processes already starts when trying to select the appropriate search result on a search engine results page (SERP). Up to now, research has mainly focused on the evaluation of webpages while the evaluation of SERPs received less attention. Furthermore, task complexity is often not taken into account. A within subjects design was used to study the influence of task complexity on search query formulation, evaluation of search results and task performance. Three search tasks were used: a fact-finding, cause–effect, and a controversial topic task. To measure perceptual search processes, we used a combination of log files, eye-tracking data, answer forms and think aloud protocols. Results reveal that an increase in task complexity results in more search queries and used keywords, more time to formulate search queries and more considered search results on the SERPs. Furthermore, higher ranked search results were considered more often than lower ranked results. However, not all the results for the most complex task were in line with the expectations. These conflicting results can be explained by a lack of prior knowledge and the possible interference of prior attitudes.

AB - Evaluation of information during information problem solving processes already starts when trying to select the appropriate search result on a search engine results page (SERP). Up to now, research has mainly focused on the evaluation of webpages while the evaluation of SERPs received less attention. Furthermore, task complexity is often not taken into account. A within subjects design was used to study the influence of task complexity on search query formulation, evaluation of search results and task performance. Three search tasks were used: a fact-finding, cause–effect, and a controversial topic task. To measure perceptual search processes, we used a combination of log files, eye-tracking data, answer forms and think aloud protocols. Results reveal that an increase in task complexity results in more search queries and used keywords, more time to formulate search queries and more considered search results on the SERPs. Furthermore, higher ranked search results were considered more often than lower ranked results. However, not all the results for the most complex task were in line with the expectations. These conflicting results can be explained by a lack of prior knowledge and the possible interference of prior attitudes.

KW - web search

KW - eye tracking

U2 - 10.1002/asi.23782

DO - 10.1002/asi.23782

M3 - Article

VL - 68

SP - 1449

EP - 1461

JO - Association for Information Science and Technology

JF - Association for Information Science and Technology

SN - 2330-1635

IS - 6

ER -