The Role of the Task Topic in Web Search of Different Task Types

by   Daniel Hienert, et al.

When users are looking for information on the Web, they show different behavior for different task types, e.g., for fact finding vs. information gathering tasks. For example, related work in this area has investigated how this behavior can be measured and applied to distinguish between easy and difficult tasks. In this work, we look at the searcher's behavior in the domain of journalism for four different task types, and additionally, for two different topics in each task type. Search behavior is measured with a number of session variables and correlated to subjective measures such as task difficulty, task success and the usefulness of documents. We acknowledge prior results in this area that task difficulty is correlated to user effort and that easy and difficult tasks are distinguishable by session variables. However, in this work, we emphasize the role of the task topic - in and of itself - over parameters such as the search results and read content pages, dwell times, session variables and subjective measures such as task difficulty or task success. With this knowledge researchers should give more attention to the task topic as an important influence factor for user behavior.


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