This paper aims to report a number of factors that are perceived by web users as influential elements in their search procedure. The paper introduces a new conceptual measure called “web search efficacy” (hereafter WSE) to evaluate the performance of searches mainly based on users' perceptions.
A rich dataset of a wider study was inductively re‐explored to identify different categories that are perceived influential by web users on the final outcome of their searches. A selective review of the literature was carried out to discover to what extent previous research supports the findings of the current study.
The analysis of the dataset led to the identification of five categories of influential factors. Within each group different factors have been recognized. Accordingly, the concept of WSE has been introduced. The five “Ss” which determine WSE are searcher's performance, search tool's performance, search strategy, search topic, and search situation.
The research body is scattered in different areas and it is difficult to carry out a comprehensive review. The WSE table, which is derived from the empirical data and was supported by previous research, can be employed for further research in various groups of web users.
The paper contributes to the area of information seeking on the web by providing researchers with a new conceptual framework to evaluate the efficiency of each search session and identify the underlying factors on the final outcome of web searching.
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