Measuring online information seeking context, Part 1 / Kelly, D. (2006)

Citation - Kelly, Diane. (2006). Measuring online information seeking context, Part 1: Background and method. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 57(13), 1729-1739.

Keyword - information behavior, context


  • 背景/動機:脈絡(context)是資訊尋求與檢索研究的重要概念之一。然而,研究脈絡並不容易;大多研究者只將脈絡作為一種[資訊行為研究]的「事後解釋」因素,而不是直接的研究對象。
    Context is one of the most important concepts in information seeking and retrieval research. However, the challenges of studying context are great; thus, it is more common for researchers to use context as a post hoc explanatory factor, rather than as a concept that drives inquiry.
  • 目的:此研究的目的在於,為線上資訊尋求行為研究,發展一種中收集真實脈絡資料,並找出哪些脈絡面向的方法。
    The purposes of this study were to develop a method for collecting data about information seeking context in natural online environments, and identify which aspects of context should be considered when studying online information seeking.
  • 此論文會分為上下兩個部份。第一部份(此文),介紹研究背景與方法。包含先前相關研究文獻的探索分析,並進一步描繪 用於評估線上資訊尋求脈絡的自然主義式、歷時性(14週)研究設計。在此研究設計中,資訊尋求脈絡是取決於使用者自己認定的任務與主題,與一些相關屬性,如:使用者預期任務的時間長度、使用者對主題的熟悉度。每週,使用者評估所閱讀文件的有用程度,並將文件根據任務與主題予以分類。最後,使用者也針對此研究方法提供意見回饋。
    The study is reported in two parts. In this, the first part, the background and method are presented. Results and implications of this research are presented in Part 2 (Kelly, in press). Part 1 discusses previous literature on information seeking context and behavior and situates the current work within this literature. This part further describes the naturalistic, longitudinal research design that was used to examine and measure the online information seeking contexts of users during a 14-week period. In this design, information seeking context was characterized by a user’s self-identified tasks and topics, and several attributes of these, such as the length of time the user expected to work on a task and the user’s familiarity with a topic. At weekly intervals, users evaluated the usefulness of the documents that they viewed, and classified these documents according to their tasks and topics. At the end of the study, users provided feedback about the study method.
  • 研究結果呈現在第二部份
  • 此論文是一個研究報告類型。
  • 假定:
  • 方法:
  • 資料:
  • 發現:

Context in ISB

  • Saracevic (1997) describes interaction in IR as a process that is “very much situation or context dependent: it starts from and relates to the user, their tasks or problems, competencies, knowledge states and intents” (p. 320).
  • Ingwersen and Jarvelin (2004) propose a framework for understanding information seeking and retrieval that operates within several kinds of contexts. This model describes and elaborates a nested model of context stratification for information seeking and retrieval, which includes broad contextual classes such as object structure, session context, techno-economic and societal context, and social, systemic, conceptual, work task, and emotional contexts.
  • Ingwersen and Jarvelin (2004) further propose a historical context dimension, which represents the fluidity of context and a searcher’s position within these various strata. The inclusion of historical context acknowledges that a searcher’s context can change each time a new search is initiated, a new set of results are reviewed, and a new document is viewed.

definition: = situation (?)

In the information science (IS) literature, the concept of context has often been used in the company of situation. Cool (2001) discusses the relationship between context and situation, and observes that these concepts are often used interchangeably in the literature. In reviewing the conceptualization of situation across a variety of disciplines, Cool (2001) notes various descriptions of situation, and details six major treatments of situation that are believed to be useful to IS, two of which, the problematic situation and the personin- situation, are particularly useful for differentiating between situation and context in the current paper.

Cool, C. (2001). The concept of situation in information science. Annual review of information science and technology, 35, 5-42.

  • 問題情境與例行情境 Problematic situation & Routine situations (Schutz & Luckmann, 1973). Schutz and Luckmann describe a problematic situation as one that requires explication and closure of the “open” elements until a certain desired level of clarity, familiarity, and freedom from contradiction is achieved (p. 116). These open elements are those elements that are unknown or ambiguous, and create a situation that is problematic for a person. Routine situations, in contrast, are situations where all open elements of the situation can be routinely determined (p. 115). Because these open elements are determinable, routine situations are unproblematic, even if all elements are not anticipated.
  • Person-in-Situation, Allen (1996): providing a “framework for understanding the matrix of social and individual factors that come into play in explaining information needs and uses and information-seeking behavior”.

Studying Context in Information Science

  • Cool and Spink (2002) identified four overlapping and related levels of context that have been discussed in the literature: (a) information environment level; (b) information seeking level; © IR interaction level; and (d) query level. | 資訊尋求與搜尋研究中的情境四層次:資訊環境;資訊尋求;資訊檢索互動;查詢。
  • R. S. Taylor's IUE: People, Setting, Problem & Resolution. 人、環境、問題、解決方案。
  • Yuan and Meadow (1999) exploring the use of variables in information retrieval user studies, found that information seeking context was most often comprised of the following variables: problem definition, searcher’s intent, public knowledge of problem, and internal knowledge of problem. 問題定義、搜尋者的意圖、問題的公共知識、問題的內在知識。
  • Lin and Belkin (2000) proposed a multidimensional conceptual model of multiple information seeking episodes: This model united literature on human-information behavior from the cognitive and phenomenological perspectives, and proposed four dimensions of information seeking behavior: (a) problematic situation, (b) information problem and treatment, © information seeking process, and (d) episode.
  • This author (D. Kelly, 2006):
    • Task 任務目的: Vakkari (2003) defines task as a “piece of activity to be done in order to achieve a goal”
    • Stage 階段: Kuhlthau (1993) 6 stages; Ellis (1989) information seeking process; Wilson et al. (2002) problem-solving stages
    • Topic knowledge 主題知識: Personal prior knowledge; personal domain knowledge
    • Time 時間:
R.S. Taylor IUE Cool & Spink (2002) D. Kelly (2006) Courtright (2007) Lin and Belkin (2000)
People - Topic knowledge
Stage information environment problem situation
Problem information seeking Task problem & treatment
Resolution information seeking; IR interaction; Query Stage process
Time(?) episode


Variables Definition Scale
Task 任務 Endurance 耐受度 受測者期望進行任務的時間長度 一日/數日/一週/….
Frequency 頻率 受測者期望進行任務的頻率 每日一兩次/每日/每週一兩次/….
Stage 階段 受測者自認在任務中的階段 開始….結束
Topic 主題 Persistence 堅持 受測者對這個主題預期的興趣會持續多久 一日/數日/一週/….
Familiarity 熟悉度 受測者對主題的知識 不熟悉…熟悉
Usefulness 有用性 Content 內容 受測者認為內容是否有用, 對完成任務有什麼影響… 有用…沒用
Navigation 瀏覽 是否幫助受測者找到有用文獻 有用…沒用
Confidence 信心 對評分有多少信心 低…高