Developing a detailed view of query reformulation: One step in an incremental approach

Catherine L. Smith, Nina Wacholder
2010 Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology  
A key goal of current research on interactive information seeking is to develop personalized search systems that respond to individual user needs in real time. Ideally, such systems will provide customized recommendations that help the user generate more effective queries. This paper reports on one experiment in a larger study that tests the hypothesis that the visual scanning of ranked search results interferes with the user's ability to recognize potentially useful query terms. Our experiment
more » ... uses the welldocumented phenomenon of semantic priming -people recognize a word more quickly when they have just encountered (e.g., seen, heard, or thought about) a semantically related word. Recognition is slower when they have not been "primed" by such an encounter. Using methods from standard semantic priming experiments, we carefully manipulated the semantic relationships between words in a display, and asked participants to indicate their recognition of the words. We also varied the task we asked participants to complete when indicting recognition. This allowed us to measure differences in the level of semantic priming for each type of task. Our results show that in a visual scanning task, word recognition is not advantaged by semantic priming. The finding supports our hypothesis. The primary contributions of this research include: 1) demonstration of the value of the semantic priming paradigm in the study of query formulation and search interaction; 2) development of a new task specifically designed to tease apart the impact of visual and linguistic processing during query reformulation; 3) bringing a novel technique to information retrieval research for the study of interaction, as part of a general movement to apply techniques from cognitive science in the study of cognitive factors that affect search interaction.
doi:10.1002/meet.14504701268 fatcat:qotmyb4bungtbdpjxj2x52xepq