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Using the eye-tracking method to study consumer online health information search behaviour

Jacek Gwizdka (School of Information, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA)
Yan Zhang (School of Information, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA)
Andrew Dillon (School of Information, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA)

Aslib Journal of Information Management

ISSN: 2050-3806

Article publication date: 9 October 2019

Issue publication date: 22 November 2019

703

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce eye tracking as a method for capturing direct and indirect measures of online human information search behaviour. The unique contribution of eye-tracking data in studying information behaviour is examined in the context of health information research.

Design/methodology/approach

The need for multiple methods of data collection when examining human online health information behaviour is described and summarised. The nature of human eye movements in information use and reading is outlined and the emergence and application of contemporary eye-tracking technology are explained.

Findings

The paper summarises key contributions and insights that eye tracking has provided across multiple studies, with examples of both direct data on fixations and gaze durations as well as theoretical assessments of relevance and knowledge gain.

Originality/value

The paper provides a basic introduction to the application of a unique method for information research in general and online health information search in particular and provides readers with an awareness of how such data are captured and interpreted.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors want to thank the support from the 2011 Google Faculty Research Award to Jacek Gwizdka, Institute for Museum and Library Studies (IMLS) Career Development Grant to Jacek Gwizdka No. RE-04-11-0062-11A, and the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology and the Digital Media Program at University of Texas at Austin.

Citation

Gwizdka, J., Zhang, Y. and Dillon, A. (2019), "Using the eye-tracking method to study consumer online health information search behaviour", Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 71 No. 6, pp. 739-754. https://doi.org/10.1108/AJIM-02-2019-0050

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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