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Search engine use behavior of students and faculty: User perceptions and implications for future research

Thursday, December 17, 2009


This paper examines the use of Web search engines by faculty and students to support learning, teaching, and research. We explore the academic tasks supported by search engine use to investigate if and how students and scholars vary in their use patterns. We also investigate the satisfaction levels with search outcomes and trust in search engines in supporting specific tasks. This study is based on triangulating three data–gathering methods, including a Web–based survey, interviews, and search log reviews. One of the goals of the study is to demonstrate how each methodology exhibits a unique strength in collecting information about different dimensions of search behavior and perceptions. We conclude that, although there are variations in search engine use among the faculty, graduate and undergraduate students surveyed, there is convergence in means of overall satisfaction with the outcomes of their searches and trust in search engines in supporting their studies and research. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of the findings for future search engine research and information practitioners.

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