Previous research has demonstrated that task is the driving force for information retrieval (IR). However, few studies investigate how people engaged in work and search tasks define their decisions and behaviors in the IR process. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how dimensions of tasks affect the information‐seeking and retrieving process.
In total, 40 participants are recruited for the two studies conducted in a corporate setting as well as an academic setting. Multiple methods are applied to collect data related to participants' tasks and the information‐seeking and retrieving process: web surveys, questionnaires, diaries, and telephone interviews. Both qualitative and quantitative data are analyzed.
This paper identifies nature (routine, typical, and unusual), stages (pre‐focus, formation, and post‐focus), and timeframe (extremely urgent, urgent, and non‐urgent) as dimensions of work tasks as well as origination (self‐generated and assigned), types (updating information, looking for specific information, looking for items with common characteristics, and looking for known items), and flexibility (very flexible, flexible, and inflexible) as dimensions of search tasks. Moreover, the relationships between dimensions of work and search tasks and the information‐seeking process – in particular, the extent of planning, the application of different types of information‐seeking strategies, and shifts in search‐task‐related goals – are explored.
This paper fills in a gap in current research – the impact of dimensions of task on the information‐seeking and ‐retrieving process.
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