Searchers' assessments of task complexity for web searching

David J. Bell, Ian Ruthven

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

94 Citations (Scopus)


The complexity of search tasks has been shown to be an important factor in searchers' ability to find relevant information and their satisfaction with the performance of search engines. In user evaluations of search engines an understanding of how task complexity affects search behaviour is important to properly understand the results of an evaluation. In this paper we examine the issue of search task complexity for the purposes of evaluation. In particular we concentrate on the searchers' ability to recognise the internal complexity of search tasks, how complexity is affected by task design, and how complexity affects the success of searching.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in information retrieval
Subtitle of host publicationproceedings of the 26th european conference in information retrieval (ECIR 2004)
EditorsS McDonald, J. Tait
Place of PublicationBerlin-Heidelberg
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)3540213821
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Event26th European Conference on Infromation Retrieval (ECIR 2004) - Sunderland, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Apr 20047 Apr 2004

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743


Conference26th European Conference on Infromation Retrieval (ECIR 2004)
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • searching
  • web searching
  • search engines
  • information retrieval


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