Dissertation Information for Yuelin Li
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: Relationships among work tasks, search tasks, and interactive information searching behavior
Abstract: This dissertation explores the relationships between work tasks and search tasks, and between work tasks and interactive information searching behavior. A faceted classification of tasks served as a framework of this research. Two sequential studies, i.e., Study 1 and Study 2, were conducted. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were carried out to collect data in Study 1. The applicability of the faceted classification of tasks to a university community were examined and the classification was refined, based on which Study 1 investigated the relationships between work tasks and search tasks. The results indicated that several facets of work tasks are significantly related to search tasks, while only a few search task facets are heavily related to work task facets. The examination of the relationships provided empirical evidence to support that work tasks and search tasks are two different constructs and their effect on interactive information search behavior should be accounted for separately. This study also identified work task facets which substantially affect search tasks and interactive information searching behavior. Based on the findings in Study 1, an experiment was conducted in Study 2 to probe the relationships between work tasks and interactive information searching behavior. The results demonstrated that work tasks are important factors in shaping users' interaction with information systems. Study 2 also found that different work task facets play different roles in affecting users' interaction with information systems, and common attributes of tasks seem to be more important than the generic facets of tasks. Moreover, among common attributes objective work task complexity affects the most aspects of interactive information searching behavior. The results also indicated that knowledge of work task topic, work task difficulty, and subjective work task complexity influence different aspects of interaction in different degrees. This research demonstrates that a faceted approach to conceptualizing tasks is feasible and effective. These results and findings have theoretical, practical, and methodological implications for task-based information retrieval and personalization of information retrieval.
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