The query is just the beginning: Exploring search-related decision-making of young adults

Veronica Maidel, Dmitry Epstein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Web search has become an integral part of everyday online activity. Existing research on search behavior offers an extensive and detailed account of what searchers do when they encounter the search results pages. Yet, there is limited inquiry into what drives the particular search decisions that are being made and what contextual factors drive this behavior. This study provides a user-centric inquiry focused on in-depth detailed investigation of search-related decision-making processes. It builds on data collected through analysis of structured observations of young adults performing searches on their personal laptops. It focuses explicitly on the decisions the users make after completing a query and facing a list of search results. The study reveals a pattern of sophisticated use of a variety of explicit cues, tacit and contextual knowledge, as well as employment of an incremental search strategy.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationOnline Credibility and Digital Ethos
Subtitle of host publicationEvaluating Computer-Mediated Communication
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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