The effects of expertise and feedback on search term selection and subsequent learning

Helene A. Hembrooke, Laura A. Granka, Geraldine K. Gay, Elizabeth D. Liddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Query formation and expansion is an integral part of nearly every effort to search for information. In the work reported here we investigate the effects of domain knowledge and feedback on search term selection and reformation. We explore differences between experts and novices as they generate search terms over 10 successive trials and under two feedback conditions. Search attempts were coded on quantitative dimensions such as the number of unique terms and average time per trial, and as a whole in an attempt to characterize the user's conceptual map for the topic under differing conditions of participant-defined domain expertise. Nine distinct strategies were identified. Differences emerged as a function of both expertise and feedback. In addition, strategic behavior varied depending on prior search conditions. The results are considered from both a theoretical and design perspective, and have direct implications for digital library usability and metadata generation, and query expansion systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)861-871
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jun 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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