Sixth graders’ evaluation strategies when reading Internet search results: an eye tracking study

Jarkko Hautala, Kiili, Y.A.K. Kammerer, Otto Loberg, Sanna Hokkanen, Paavo Leppänen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Eye-tracking technology was used to examine Internet search result evaluation strategies adopted by sixth-grade students (N=36) during ten experimental information search tasks. The relevancy of the search result's title, URL, and snippet components was manipulated and selection of search results as well as looking into probabilities on the search result components was analysed. The results revealed that during first-pass inspection, students read the search engine page by first looking at the title of a search result. If the title was relevant, the probability of looking at the snippet of the search result increased. During second-pass inspection, there was a high probability of students focusing on the most promising search result by inspecting all of its components before making their selection. A cluster analysis revealed three viewing strategies: half of the students looked mainly at the titles and snippets; one-third with high probability examined all components; and one-sixth mainly focused on titles, leading to more frequent errors in search result selection. The results indicate that students generally made a flexible use of both eliminative and confirmatory evaluation strategies when reading Internet search results, while some seemed to not pay attention to snippet and URL components of the search results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-773
Number of pages13
JournalBehaviour & Information Technology
Volume37
Issue number8
Early online date24 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • BEHAVIOR
  • CHILDRENS
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES
  • INFORMATION-SEEKING
  • Information search
  • MOVEMENTS
  • ONLINE SEARCH
  • PERFORMANCE
  • RELEVANCE
  • SKILLS
  • WEB SEARCH
  • eye tracking
  • online reading
  • search engine results page

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