Studies on Search: Designing Meaningful IIR Studies on Commercial Search Engines

Lewandowski, D., Sünkler, S., & Schultheiß, S. (2020). Studies on Search: Designing Meaningful IIR Studies on Commercial Search Engines. Datenbank-Spektrum, 20(1), 5–15.

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is (1) to show which topics are especially fruitful for researchers interested in user behavior in commercial search engines, (2) to help researchers decide which data to collect and to what extent. We classify potential areas for IIR research along two dimensions, namely the type of interaction data used (small-scale or large-scale), and whether search engine companies are likely to publish research on the topic chosen (likely or unlikely). This results in a framework consisting of five areas, which are further detailed. In the second part of the paper, we present some empirical studies showing how researchers could approach relevant topics where no results from the search engine providers themselves are published. We also show how researchers can improve the evidential value of their work by going from small-scale to at least medium-scale studies.

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