Unpacking cognitive skills engaged in web-search: how can log files, eye movements, and cued-retrospective reports help? An in-depth qualitative case study

Esther Argelagos, F.L.J.M. Brand - Gruwel, H.M. Jarodzka, Manoli Pifarre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Searching the internet with a specific purpose has become an important activity. Educational research informs that a better understanding of the cognitive skills involved in this activity is needed, but it is not clear which research techniques can be used for this purpose. One student performed a web-search task and was registered by three different techniques: log files, eye movements, and cued-retrospective reports. With a qualitative analysis, we attempt to provide a two-fold contribution: 1) a thorough analysis about the information retrieved from the three techniques separately; 2) developing a methodology for integrating the information captured from the three techniques. Results showed that log files and eye movements gave insight into cognitive outcomes of skills, and cued-retrospective delivered self-explanations of cognitive and regulation activities. This integration provided an overall and comprehensive picture of the cognitive skills performed and allowed building a synergism among the information captured from each technique.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152 – 175
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Innovation and Learning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2018



  • web-search
  • information-problem solving
  • log files
  • eye movements
  • cued-retrospective reports
  • unpacking cognitive skills
  • internet
  • in-depth case study
  • qualitative
  • techniques
  • synergism
  • innovation
  • learning
  • LOAD

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