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A descriptive user study of bilingual information seekers searching for online information to complete four tasks

Hong, Wan-Yin (2011) A descriptive user study of bilingual information seekers searching for online information to complete four tasks. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study is about the information-seeking behavior that bilingual users – specifically, native Chinese speakers whose second language is English - exhibit when performing an online search. Bilingual online searching occurs when bilingual users submit queries to search for information in two languages. This study seeks to explore the information-seeking behavior of bilingual users in an attempt to discover possible ways of improving bilingual users’ online searching experience. The study focuses on defining the characteristics of bilingual users’ information-seeking behavior on the web.

This research employed questionnaire and interview methods to determine (1) The information-seeking behavior of bilingual users; (2) Language’s influence on online searching; (3) Bilingual users’ opinions on the online searching support they need. The sample was recruited from Chinese native-speaking students in Pittsburgh.

The researcher found that bilingual users tend to select the language that best fits their information needs rather than doing multilingual online searching and that they used search engines as multilingual tools. The researcher also identified five types of search strategies preferred for bilingual online searching. They include: directly linking, keyword searching, browsing, comparison, and externally linking. Directly linking means that the participant has a specific website in mind so he/she just go to the website directly or search for the website in the search engine. Browsing means that they retrieved a list of resources first and browse through them. Comparison means that they obtained several search results first and compare them. Externally linking strategy means that participants link from the website they accessed originally. This is a descriptive study of users completing four specific tasks and it only emphasizes on users’ opinions about the search support given by the bilingual online searching interface.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBowler, Leannelbowler@sis.pitt.eduLBOWLER
Committee MemberDetlefsen, Ellen G.ellen@sis.pitt.eduELLEN
Committee MemberOh, Jung Sunjsoh@sis.pitt.eduJSOH
Committee MemberJeng,
Date: 19 December 2011
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 30 November 2011
Approval Date: 19 December 2011
Submission Date: 15 December 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 159
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Information Sciences > Library and Information Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: bilingual users, information-seeking behavior, online searching
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2011 15:00
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2024 18:36


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