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Psychol Rep. 2003 Jun;92(3 Pt 2):1091-6.

Patterns of searching for information on the World Wide Web: a pilot study.

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Division of Educational Technology, Naruto University of Education, Tokushima, Japan.


The influences of task type on search of the World Wide Web using search engines without limitation of search domain were investigated. 9 graduate and undergraduate students studying psychology (1 woman and 8 men, M age=25.0 yr., SD=2.1) participated. Their performance to manipulate the search engines on a closed task with only one answer were compared with their performance on an open task with several possible answers. Analysis showed that the number of actions was larger for the closed task (M=91) than for the open task (M=46.1). Behaviors such as selection of keywords (averages were 7.9% of all actions for the closed task and 16.7% for the open task) and pressing of the browser's back button (averages were 40.3% of all actions for the closed task and 29.6% for the open task) were also different. On the other hand, behaviors such as selection of hyperlinks, pressing of the home button, and number of browsed pages were similar for both tasks. Search behaviors were influenced by task type when the students searched for information without limitation placed on the information sources.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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