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Dissertation Information for David Robins

- David Robins
- (Alias) David Bruce Robins

- Ph.D.

- Library and Information Science

- University of North Texas (USA) (1998)

- Amanda Spink

- Linda Schamber
- Kathleen Swigger
- Kevin Joseph Kennelly

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: Shifts of focus among dimensions of user information problems as represented during interactive information retrieval

Abstract: The goal of this study is to increase understanding of information problems as they are revealed (i.e., represented) in interactions among users and search intermediaries during information retrieval. Specifically, this study seeks to investigate: (a) how interaction between users and search intermediaries reveals aspects of user information problems; (b) to explore the concept of representation with respect to information problems in interactive IR; and (c) how users and search intermediaries focus on aspects of user information problems during the course of searches. This project extends research on interactive information retrieval, and presents a theoretical framework that synthesizes rational and non-rational questions concerning mental representation as it pertains to user's understanding of information problems.

Discourse analysis was employed to analyze 20 transcripts (from videotapes averaging 1 hour, 9 minutes each, and consisting of 10,097 total utterances over the 20 interactions) of mediated online searches performed by real search intermediaries, users, and information problem. Transcript analysis consisted of an utterance level analysis and a focus level analysis. The utterance level analysis identified information problem dimensions. These dimensions were then applied to the focus level analysis, in which transcripts were broken into segments delineated by shifts among information problem focus by the speakers. The dynamic nature of movement among foci constitutes general representations of features of user information problems.

Eight user information problem dimensions were identified: (1) strategic; (2) evaluation of system output; (3) IR system concerns; (4) topic of searches; (5) user background; (6) document related issues; (7) social issues not related to searches; and (8) technical issues related to searching. 1439 foci were identified over the 20 interactions. On average, focus shifts occurred 72 times per interaction (18 presearch; 54 online). Roughly 60% of all foci were concerned with strategy (44%) and evaluation of system output (16%). Shifts among foci occurred, on average, every 7 utterances. No patterns were found that would indicate that speakers were more likely to shift from any one type of focus to any other type. The findings indicate that interactive searching is a rapid, chaotic process that loosely follows plans, but also relies on the intuition of the participants, and the leadership of the search intermediary. Future research should concentrate on the ways in which conceptions of information problems change during the course of interactions.

MPACT Scores for David Robins

A = 0
C = 5
A+C = 5
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2009-05-20 10:44:15

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Students under David Robins

- None

- Essam Abd El-Halim Hassan Mansour - University of Pittsburgh (2002)
- Patrice A. Clemson - University of Pittsburgh (2003)
- Ling-Ling Lai - University of Pittsburgh (2004)
- Eylem Ozkaramanh - University of Pittsburgh (2005)
- Demetrios Ioannides - University of Pittsburgh (2007)