Dissertation Information for Wagih A. Shenouda
- Wagih A. Shenouda
- Library and Information Science
- Rutgers University (USA) (1991)
- Nicholas Belkin
- Leny Struminger
- Daniel O'Connor
- Tefko Saracevic
- W. David Penniman
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: Online search strategy modification by end users
Abstract: The study investigated how end users interact with an information retrieval system (IR) in a natural environment. The study focused on identifying the processes by which end users modify their initial search strategies in the light of new information presented during the online process. This exploratory study was also conducted to examine the effectiveness of such modification in retrieving relevant documents and to identify characteristics associated with end-users' online search behavior.
Moreover, the study aimed to explore possible relationships between a number of variables associated with users' problematic situation and the search process and outcome.
Twenty users were recruited; each had an actual problem for which information was sought. None had any prior online searching experience. After receiving a basic training program, each user developed the query, identified its main concepts and their logical relationships, and selected appropriate database(s) from DIALOG. With the help of an intermediary who performed only the mechanical operations, each user conducted the online search without any constraints of time or cost.
The major findings indicate that all end users modified the search strategy during their interaction with the system. Categories of actions for modification, as well as categories of reasons for invoking such actions, were developed and identified in each search. The actions most frequently taken were associated with the deletion and addition of terms and facets. Reasons for invoking these changes were mainly related to relevance decisions.
Characteristics of end users' online search behaviors were identified. Overall, they reflect a learning process during which users became aware of how to communicate effectively with the system. Some of the system features were used more than others. Individual differences among users were demonstrated. Some users' problematic situation variables had positive relationships with the number of actions for modification as well as with precision.