From the search problem through query formulation to results on the web

Elena Barsky, Judit Bar-Ilan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose - The purpose of the research was to create internet search instructions, to test their effectiveness and to track the search behavior of the first year MLS students Design/methodology/approach - The students received two exercises with similar search tasks. No specific search guidelines were delivered to the students prior to the first exercise. Prior to the second exercise students received a lecture based on the internet search instructions developed by the authors. The results of the two searches were analyzed and compared. Findings - As a result of the lecture students significantly improved the search results. There were a certain number of problematic search behavior patterns and obstacles uncovered, which proved to have a critical impact on the search results, such as: difficulties in acquiring new or alternative vocabulary during the search process, perception of the task as the ultimate source of keywords, and perception of commercial sources as unavailable. Research limitations/implications - In order to understand the effect of the internet search instructions, the experiment has to be repeated with other groups of users. If the results consistently show that search behavior improves, the authors recommend systematic training of internet users. Originality/value - The paper might be particularly interesting for information specialists and search instructors mostly because it reveals connection between the way the problem was stated and initial search strategy - a connection that to our knowledge has not been deeply explored yet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-89
Number of pages15
JournalOnline Information Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Information retrieval
  • Internet


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