This study considers online searching by health information consumers as a learning process. We focus on search sequences, query reformulation, and conceptual changes.
A qualitative user study (30 participants; three health information seeking tasks) investigated mobile searching behavior. Recorded screen activity, questionnaires, and in-depth personal interview data were collected and analyzed.
(1) Search platform sequences of health information consumers in search as a learning process were exacted and their features were highlighted. (2) Query sequence and reformulation pattern of health information consumers were exacted and discussed. (3) The types and degree of conceptual changes of health consumers were reflected by their query reformulation behavior and differ from different health information search tasks. (4) Characteristics of health consumers' search as learning process were revealed.
(1) A novel perspective of consumer health information studies was proposed by exacting search platform sequence, query sequence and linking them with conceptual changes during the search as learning process. (2) Conceptual changes in the searching as a learning process are regarded as a measure of search outcome in this study, in which terms extracted from queries were used to reflect conceptual changes in consumers' mind. (3) Our findings provide evidences that types of health information seeking tasks do have significant influences on the search as a learning process.
The findings of this study can lead to the fit-to-needs of the search platforms, provide advice for information architecture of search list of search platforms, and guide the design of knowledge graph of health information systems.
Potential relationships between information-seeking behavior and conceptual changes in search as a learning process relative to health information were revealed.
This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under grant no. 71874130, 71921002, and 71420107026. It is partly supported by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China under grant no. 18YJC870026, the Science Foundation of Hubei Province under grant no. 2019CFA025, the world-class discipline project “Library, Information and Data Science”, and the China Association for Science and Technology under grant no. 2017QNRC001.
Chen, Y., Zhao, Y. and Wang, Z. (2020), "Understanding online health information consumers' search as a learning process: Search platform sequences, query reformulation and conceptual changes", Library Hi Tech, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHT-08-2019-0174Download as .RIS
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