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The Power of Suggestion: An Evaluation of the Effects of Source and Position on the Use of Query Suggestions

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  • Information Retrieval/Evaluation
  • End User Searching
  • Online Searching/Evaluation
  • Mathematics


This study examines whether the perceived source of query suggestions and their location within the search interface affects users’ likelihood of clicking on the suggested queries. Participants were asked to complete three search tasks using the search system provided. The query suggestions were placed on either left or right side of the page, and were labeled as either system-generated or as having come from other users of the system. Participants also evaluated their engagement with the search tasks and the quality and usefulness of the query suggestions. Results indicated that users presented with query suggestions on the left scored significantly higher on two measures of engagement. While the effects of source did not meet tests of statistical significance, participants who believed the query suggestions came from other users had higher mean scores for three of the four search engagement scales and the query suggestion rating scale.

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