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An investigation of online searcher traits and their relationship to search outcome.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of the American Society for Information Science. American Society for Information Science
Publication Date
Volume
36
Issue
4
Pages
241–250
Identifiers
PMID: 10271924
Source
Medline

Abstract

This study investigated more attributes of online searchers that were believed to affect the quality of their search results. Subjects were selected from the online searching courses in six library schools. The searching proficiency of the subjects was measured by their performance on two DIALOG searches. Their creativity level was measured using two self-report inventories; their intelligence level was approximated from their GRE Verbal and Quantitative scores; and their personality traits in regard to masculinity, femininity, and self-esteem were measured using the Interpersonal Disposition Inventory. The large number of independent, predictor variables were reduced by factor analysis and the derived factors were related to the dependent variable, online searching performance, in a multiple regression analysis. The findings suggest that differences in searching performance can be attributed, to a small degree only, to general verbal and quantitative aptitude, artistic creativity, and to an inclination toward critical and analytical creative thinking. The findings also raise doubts, however, that high intelligence and other attributes cited by writers in the field are necessary for high performance. The notion that searching performance can be predicted by or is dependent upon certain cognitive or personality traits has thus become highly suspect.

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