Understanding Web Search via a Learning Paradigm
Investigating whether one can view Web searching as a learning process, we examined the searching characteristics of 41 participants engaged in 246 searching tasks. We classified the searching tasks according an updated version of Bloom taxonomy, a six level categorization of cognitive learning. Results show that Applying takes the most searching effort as measured by queries per session and specific topics searched per sessions. The lower level categories of Remembering and Understanding exhibit searching characteristics similar to the higher order learning of Evaluating and Creating. It appears that searchers rely primarily on their internal knowledge for Evaluating and Creating, using searching primarily as fact checking and verification. Implications are that the commonly held notion that Web searchers have simple information needs may not be correct. We discuss the implications for Web searching, including designing interfaces to support exploration.