Analyzing stopping behavior in online information search process from the perspective of Information Foraging Theory

Document Type : Original Article

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Abstract

This study analyzes search stopping points and stopping rules used in the online information search process based on the concepts of Information Foraging Theory. The research method is a descriptive-analytical study. Sources are collected from various databases with no time restriction (before August 2022). The results show that from the perspective of Information Foraging Theory, in the online information search process, the searcher enters an information patch by issuing a query. Then searcher decides whether to stay or leave the information patch, by evaluating the relevance and irrelevance of information (scent-based stopping rules) and the time spent within and between patches (patch-based stopping rules). Each time the searcher leaves the information patch, he stops at a point and enters another information patch by issuing a query. The points of leaving one patch to entering another patch are temporary stopping points, because the search process continues and is not yet completed. Finally, by evaluating the information sufficiency (diet-based stopping rules), if searcher obtains enough information, he terminates the search session and stops at the permanent point. This study helps researchers to understand the different stopping rules at temporary and permanent stopping points. The implications of research are used in the design of information search behavior models.

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