Exploring People’s Attitudes and Behaviors Toward Careful Information Seeking in Web Search

Takehiro Yamamoto (Kyoto Univ.), Yusuke Yamamoto (Shizuoka Univ.), Sumio Fujita

The 27th ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM 2018), 2018/10


Information Retrieval Data Science

This study investigates how people carefully search for theWeb to obtain credible and accurate information. The goal of this study is to better understand people’s attitudes toward careful information seeking via Web search, and the relationship between such attitudes and their daily search behaviors. To this end, we conducted two experiments. We first administrated an online questionnaire to investigate how people’s attitudes toward using the strategies for verifying information in the Web search process differ based on various factors such as their credulity towardWeb information, individual thinking styles, educational background, and search expertise. We then analyzed their one-year and one-month query logs of a commercialWeb search engine to explore how their daily search behaviors are different according to their attitudes. The analysis of the questionnaire and the query logs obtained from 1,491 participants revealed that (i) the people’s attitudes toward using the verification strategies inWeb search are positively correlated to their Need for Cognition (NFC), educational background, and search expertise; (ii) people with strong attitudes are likely to click lower-ranked search results than those with intermediate levels of attitude; (iii) people with strong attitudes are more likely to use the terms such as “evidence” or “truth” in their queries, possibly to scrutinize the uncertain or incredible information; and (iv) the behavioral differences found in (ii) and (iii) are not identified from the differences in the participants’ educational backgrounds. These findings help us explore future directions for a new Web search system that encourages people to be more careful in Web search, and suggest the need for an educational program or training to facilitate the attitudes and skills for using Web search engines to obtain accurate information.

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