Exploring the Relationships Between Work Task and Search Task In Information Search

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Library and Information Science


To provide a basis for making predictions of the characteristics of search task (ST), based on work task (WT), and to explore the nature of WT and ST, this study examines the relationships between WT and ST (interrelationships) and the relationships between the different facets of both WT and ST (intra-relationships), respectively. A faceted classification of task was used to conceptualize work task and search task. Twenty-four pairs of work tasks and their associated search tasks were collected, by semistructured interviews, and classified based on the classification.The results indicate that work task shapes different facets or sub-facets of its associated search tasks to different degrees. Several sub-facets of search task, such as Time (Length), Objective task complexity, and Subjective task complexity, are most strongly affected by work task. The results demonstrate that it is necessary to consider difficulty and complexity as different constructs when investigating their influence on information search behavior. The exploration of intrarelationships illustrates the difference of work task and search task in their nature. The findings provide empirical evidence to support the view that work task and search task are multi-faceted variables and their different effects on users' information search behavior should be examined.

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Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology





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