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Modeling Web Search: Preliminary Results

Jia Tina Du and Amanda Spink

(Submission #14)


Abstract

Web search modeling is a significant and important area of Web research. This paper reports key results from a pilot study exploring the relationship between multitasking, cognitive coordination and cognitive shifts during Web searching. The pilot study results provide an in-depth examination of two study participants who conducted Web searches on personal information problems. Data analyzed included: user pre- and post-search questionnaires, think-aloud protocols, Web search logs, and observation and interview notes. Findings include: (1) multitasking Web search was conducted through information problem ordering and task switching processes, (2) three levels of cognitive coordination included an interplay of the task, mechanism and strategy level, that underpin multitasking Web search through task switching, (3) three levels of cognition shifts include forward, backward, and no shift in types of cognitive, problem and knowledge states, and (4) cognitive coordination is the hinge linking multitasking behavior and cognitive shifting process that enables study participants to move through their Web searching interactions. Based on the pilot study results, a model was developed depicting the relationship between multitasking, cognitive coordination and cognitive shifts. Implications of the findings and further research are also discussed.

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