Information seeking and mediated searching study. Part 3: Successive searching

David Ellis, Siân Spink, Allen Foster, T. D. Wilson, Nigel Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (SciVal)


Our project has investigated the processes of mediated information retrieval (IR) searching during human information-seeking processes to characterize aspects of this process, including information seekers' changing situational contexts; information problems; uncertainty reduction; successive searching, cognitive styles; and cognitive and affective states. The research has involved observational, longitudinal data collection in the United States and the United Kingdom. Three questionnaires were used for pre- and postsearch interviews: reference interview, information-seeker postsearch, and search intermediary postsearch questionnaires. In addition, the Sheffield team employed a fourth set of instruments in a follow-up interview some 2 months after the search. A total of 198 information seekers participated in a mediated on-line search with a professional intermediary using the Dialog Information Service. Each mediated search process was audiotaped and search transaction logs recorded. The findings are presented in four parts. Part I presents the background, theoretical framework, models, and research design used during the research. Part II is devoted to exploring changes in information seekers' uncertainty during the mediated process. Part III provides results related to successive searching. Part IV reports findings related to cognitive styles, individual differences, age and gender. Additional articles that discuss further findings from this complex research project, including: (1) an integrated model of information seeking and searching, (2) assessment of mediated searching, and (3) intermediary information-seeker communication, are in preparation and will be published separately.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-727
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2002


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