ASIST AM 03 2003 START ConferenceManager    

Investigating Web Searching Behavior in Home Environments

Soo Young Rieh

Presented at ASIST 2003 Annual Meeting -- Humanizing Information Technology: From Ideas to Bits and Back (ASIST AM 03 2003), Westin Long Beach, Long Beach, California, October 20 - 23, 2003


The study investigated situational elements of the home as a Web use environment, examining how domestic settings influenced people's Web search activities and behaviors. Traditionally, information searches have been conducted in public places in quest of work- or school-related information. However, as greater number of people gain access to the Internet at home, a shift has occurred in both location and purposes of Web searches from public to private venues and from work to personal interests. For this study, twelve participants in ten different households were recruited in northern California. The data were collected through semi-structured interviews of an individual at home, and were based on a self-reported "Search Activities Diary" kept over a 3-5 day period. Interviews were videotaped and then transcribed for content analysis. Findings indicated that the home, indeed, provides a unique search situation in which people conduct searches in different ways from those in the workplace. The subjects in this study searched on the Web more frequently, more briefly, and less intensely for broader and more diverse information. The study results have direct implications for design of Web search systems to support Web searching behaviors in home environments.

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