START Conference Manager    

ASIST 2012 Annual Meeting 
Baltimore, MD, October 26-30, 2012

Searching vs. Writing: Factors Affecting Information Use Task Performance
Jingjing Liu and Nicholas J. Belkin

Monday, 1:30pm


Searching for information is often driven by some work tasks that involve information use and require certain types of outcomes other than finding information. To explore how search systems can help with work tasks calls for examining factors that influence work task performance. A 3-stage controlled lab experiment was conducted with 24 participants, each coming 3 times to work on 3 sub-tasks of a general task, couched either as "parallel" or "dependent" task type. The full task was to write a report on the general topic, with interim documents produced for each sub-task. Results show that task type and task session did not affect users' task performance, but users' topic familiarity and task experience did. Users' effectiveness of finding useful pages and their time allocated to writing correlated with task performance, so did their reflected perceptions of task experience. Further, users' topic familiarity could lead to a higher writing efficiency, and task experience could lead to higher searching efficiency and effectiveness. These findings help understand factors affecting information use task performance, and have implications on search system design to support information related work task accomplishment.