A preliminary study using PageFetch to examine the searching ability of children and adults

James Purvis, Leif Azzopardi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

5 Citations (Scopus)


Evaluating the children's information seeking behaviors and information retrieval abilities poses a number of difficult challenges for researchers to overcome. One of the main problems is engaging children to undertake search tasks so that their abilities at retrieving relevant information can be assessed. In this poster paper, we outline PageFetch, which is an Information Retrieval based game designed to engage information seekers of all ages, but particular, children, to play and thus provide valuable data to assess and compare their search abilities to other age groups. We also report the results from an initial pilot study using PageFetch where over 140 participants played approximately 1500 games.

While, previous research has shown that children do not perform as well as adults, our finding suggest that given modern search engines, children (or more specifically teenagers) are more than capable of finding specified pages - and in fact for topics that they are more likely to be interested in, they often out perform adults. Since, these findings are very preliminary, they do raise a number of questions about the quality of modern search engines and the search efficacy of younger searchers. This work motivates the undertaking of secondary and larger study that examines on a year by year basis how search skills develop and improve from childhood to adulthood.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIIIX '12 Proceedings of the 4th Information Interaction in Context Symposium
Place of PublicationNew York, NY, USA
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Fu finder
  • searching
  • games
  • PageHunt


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