Connecting Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of Web Search Process: Analysis Using Search Units

  • Hitomi Saito
  • Masao Takaku
  • Yuka Egusa
  • Hitoshi Terai
  • Makiko Miwa
  • Noriko Kando
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6458)


Our final goal is to understand exploratory searches as four levels of search processes: search task, intent unit, search unit, and link unit. To complete these objectives, we used qualitative data to categorize participants’ information needs for search units and quantitatively analyzed whether differences in the information needs of search units influence users’ search processes and how task types and groups affect search units. In the experiment, eleven undergraduates and five graduates conducted information gathering task for writing a report and trip planning. We recorded their verbal protocols during the tasks and post interviews, browser logs, screen captured video, and eye-tracking data. We divided the process of exploratory searches into search units. Then search units were classified into the two types of information needs, navigational and informational, based on qualitative data. We conducted a quantitative analysis to compare between tasks and groups and types of search units. The results showed that there were many differences between the information and navigation search units.


Exploratory search search intent information seeking behavior 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hitomi Saito
    • 1
  • Masao Takaku
    • 2
  • Yuka Egusa
    • 3
  • Hitoshi Terai
    • 4
  • Makiko Miwa
    • 5
  • Noriko Kando
    • 6
  1. 1.Aichi University of EducationKariyaJapan
  2. 2.National Institute for Materials ScienceTsukubaJapan
  3. 3.National Institute for Educational Policy ResearchTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Nagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  5. 5.The Open University of JapanChibaJapan
  6. 6.National Institute of InformaticsTokyoJapan

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