Factors affecting the selection of search tactics: Tasks, knowledge, process, and systems

Iris Xie, Soohyung Joo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


This study investigated whether and how different factors in relation to task, user-perceived knowledge, search process, and system affect users' search tactic selection. Thirty-one participants, representing the general public with their own tasks, were recruited for this study. Multiple methods were employed to collect data, including pre-questionnaire, verbal protocols, log analysis, diaries, and post-questionnaires. Statistical analysis revealed that seven factors were significantly associated with tactic selection. These factors consist of work task types, search task types, familiarity with topic, search skills, search session length, search phases, and system types. Moreover, the study also discovered, qualitatively, in what ways these factors influence the selection of search tactics. Based on the findings, the authors discuss practical implications for system design to support users' application of multiple search tactics for each factor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-270
Number of pages17
JournalInformation Processing and Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Factors
  • IR systems
  • Search process
  • Search tactics
  • Tasks
  • User knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Media Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Library and Information Sciences


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