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Investigating Master Students’ Mental Models of Google Search Engine
Azam Safari, Hassan Behzadi , Iraj Radad
Assistant Professor Ferdowsi University of Mashhad
Abstract:   (609 Views)

The World Wide Web (WWW) is a major channel of getting information and web search engines are the most popular way of accessing information. This study aims to investigate master students’ mental model completeness level of Google web search engine. From the methodological perspective, this research is a practical one based on survey method. The sample population consisted of 30 master students from Ferdowsi University in engineering science, humanity/social sciences which selected purposefully and participated voluntarily. The main tools for gathering data are semi-structured interview (based on mental model completeness scale (Li, 2007) and designed questions) and direct observation.

The results demonstrated that 80% of students had incomplete mental models and 20% of them had good mental models and none of them showed a complete mental model. The majority of students' perception was good in Specific/General Info, Multiple Type of Databases, Matching Process, Keyword Searching and Info Authority. The majority of students' perception was moderate in Restricting/Broadening and Ranking/Sorting. But the majority of students' perception was poor in Limited Info, Indexed Pages/Sites, Search Assistance, Boolean Operators, Search Operators & Prefixes, Punctuation & Symbols, Advanced Search and Search Setting. There was a significant difference between mental model completeness level and interactivity level. That is, the students having the better mental model, showed better interactivity level.

According to the findings, it is necessary to consider mental model as a factor affecting information seeking behavior, in designing information systems and training users too. Understanding users' mental models reveal their errors, misconceptions and knowledge gaps; and by this pathology, it is possible to correct these faults and flaws and increase the effectiveness of the system and training.

Keywords: mental model, Google search engine, completeness level, Interactivity level.
Full-Text [PDF 1313 kb]   (368 Downloads)    
Type of Study: Research | Subject: Library and Information Science
Received: 2016/08/11 | Accepted: 2016/09/19 | Published: 2016/11/1
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Safari A, Behzadi H, Radad I. Investigating Master Students’ Mental Models of Google Search Engine. Journal of Information Processing and Management. 2009;
URL: http://jipm.irandoc.ac.ir/article-1-3316-en.html
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پژوهشنامه پردازش و مدیریت اطلاعات Journal of Information processing and Management
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