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Library and Information Science Paper (ID LIS055001)

Author
TANEICHI,Junko, ITSUMURA,Hiroshi
Titile
Web Searching Behavior:Constructing a Process Model of Information Evaluation Based on a Survey of College Students
Issue
No.55, p.1-23
Issue date
2006-07-31
Resume

The World Wide Web has had an unprecedented impact on the creation and utilization of information. As the amount of information available on the Web has continued to increase, it has become more difficult to decide whether certain information is reliable or not.

This paper analyzes the information seeking behavior of Web users and examines their information evaluation processes. It is based on experimental research on students from a two-year college program. The results of the study are intended to be used by libraries to enhance user education.

The paper reviews previous studies, examining studies on Web searching tendencies and the evaluation of Web resources in accordance with their methodologies. We discuss the simplicity of Web searching patterns and examine the factors that influence information evaluation. We point out the limitations of the research methods that have been used in the past, and describe the reasons for adopting the protocol analysis method in this investigation.

We used an observational method and protocol analysis to investigate the students’ behavior as they used search engines and the OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue) to find information. We divided the students into two groups: students who have used the Web for more than five years and students who have used the Web for less than two years. In order to provide a basis for comparison, we repeated this research on university students.

We came to the following conclusions. Web searching is a repeated behavior involving the repetition of a simple, regular pattern. The students were able to filter out unnecessary information quickly as they evaluated search results. Experience affected information seeking performance and evaluation, and a more pronounced effect was noted with students who had a longer history of experience with the Web. Students had a tendency to evaluate Web resources based on visual factors and personal experiences, but they lacked skills in determining the quality of the content. We found the same tendencies in university students. Finally, we integrated these findings to construct a process model of information evaluation for Web searching.

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