Search engines on the World Wide Web: A comparison of instructional methods to improve syntactic knowledge
Susan M. Colaric, The Pennsylvania State University, United States
The Pennsylvania State University . Awarded
Research has shown students often have a difficult time searching the World Wide Web, particularly when formulating appropriate search queries. Although instruction on Web searching is available to assist students, it is not clear whether this instruction fulfills the goal of improving students' ability to create suitable search queries. The available instruction generally consists of providing examples of searches with short procedural descriptions of how to enter the query into the engine. No research has shown this to be an effective method.
A review of the literature suggests three types of user knowledge are important in the interaction between the user and the search engine: declarative knowledge, syntactic knowledge, and semantic knowledge. In this study, declarative knowledge is defined as an understanding of factual information about a search engine. Syntactic knowledge is the user's understanding of the appropriate formulation of a search query. Semantic knowledge is the user's understanding of the major objects and actions of a search engine.
This study examined three instructional treatments: instruction by examples, conceptual models without illustrations and conceptual models with illustrations to determine the most effective method to aid searchers in using a search engine on the World Wide Web. Results show all three types of instruction are effective for increasing declarative, syntactic, and semantic knowledge. Results also show that instruction by example was the most effective for increasing syntactic knowledge, the critical element for using a search engine. Correlations between the different types of knowledge were found to be low. Implications for instruction and future research are considered.
Colaric, S.M. Search engines on the World Wide Web: A comparison of instructional methods to improve syntactic knowledge. Ph.D. thesis, The Pennsylvania State University.
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Cited ByView References & Citations Map
Wu He & Feng-Kwei Wang, University of Missouri-Columbia, United States
EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2004 (2004) pp. 4452–4458
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