One core element of interactive information retrieval (IIR) experiments is the assignment of search tasks. The purpose of this paper is to provide an analytical review of current…
One core element of interactive information retrieval (IIR) experiments is the assignment of search tasks. The purpose of this paper is to provide an analytical review of current practice in developing those search tasks to test, observe or control task complexity and difficulty.
Over 100 prior studies of IIR were examined in terms of how each defined task complexity and/or difficulty (or related concepts) and subsequently interpreted those concepts in the development of the assigned search tasks.
Search task complexity is found to include three dimensions: multiplicity of subtasks or steps, multiplicity of facets, and indeterminability. Search task difficulty is based on an interaction between the search task and the attributes of the searcher or the attributes of the search situation. The paper highlights the anomalies in our use of these two concepts, concluding with suggestions for future methodological research related to search task complexity and difficulty.
By analyzing and synthesizing current practices, this paper provides guidance for future experiments in IIR that involve these two constructs.
Skilled, well-educated African immigrants arrive in Canada with aspirations for more opportunities and a better life, but too often end up with few employment options and…
Skilled, well-educated African immigrants arrive in Canada with aspirations for more opportunities and a better life, but too often end up with few employment options and precarious jobs. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the experiences of African immigrants attempting to locate suitable, well-compensated employment in Canada. More specifically, this paper reveals how long-standing information poverty frameworks from the field of information behavior are inadequate for understanding intersectional and broader socio-cultural forces influence access to information and employment precarity among African immigrants.
Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with twenty-five African immigrants in Metro Vancouver. Qualitative content analysis was used to explore participants' employment information seeking and perceptions of information availability using Britz's information poverty framework.
Participants encountered a range of difficulties when seeking information related to employment, including content, process and identity-related challenges, in alignment with Britz's framework. However, the framework did not fully encompass their information seeking experiences. Limited access to relevant information impacted participants' ability to make timely career decisions, and there was evidence of information inequity resulting from a mismatch between information provision and participants' multifaceted identities.
This research applied Britz's information poverty approaches and provided a map of participants' responses to information seeking challenges. Participants did not fit into the category of information poor as defined by Britz. The findings suggest that the discourse on information poverty would benefit from considerations of the diverse backgrounds of information seekers and the incorporation of cultural dimensions to understandings of information access, information poverty and technology use for information seeking.