This paper reports results of an exploratory study to investigate the ability of novice searchers to recognize stages in a user's information‐seeking process. This study follows recent research by Kuhlthau et al. (1992) which examined the ability of experienced search intermediaries to recognize and assess the stage of a user's information‐seeking process. Two aspects were examined in the study: problem definition level and the work stage that the user was experiencing at the time of the online search interaction. The purpose of this present study is to examine if the ability to recognize and assess the information‐seeking stage of the user is limited to skilled and experienced intermediaries or is a more fundamental human cognitive activity. Results of the analysis suggest that novice searchers were able to judge the user's problem definition level more successfully than the user's work stage. Implications of this finding are discussed in terms of a general process model of information‐seeking behavior.
Spink, A. and Cool, C. (1992), "Recognition of stages in the user's information‐seeking process during online searching by novice searchers", Online Review, Vol. 16 No. 5, pp. 297-301. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb024407
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