Understanding the Specificity of Web Search Queries

Carolyn Theresa Hafernik, Bernard J. Jansen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Understanding the specificity of Web search queries can help search systems better address the underlying needs of searchers and provide them relevant content. The goal of this work is to automatically determine the specificity of web search queries. Although many factors may impact the specificity of Web search queries, we investigate two factors of specificity in this research, (1) part of speech and (2) query length. We use content analysis and prior research to develop a list of nine attributes to identify query specificity. The attributes are whether a query contains a URL, a location or place name along with additional terms, compares multiple things, contains multiple distinct ideas or topics, a question that has a clear answer, request for directions, instructions or tips, a specific date and additional terms or a name and additional terms. We then apply these attributes to classify 5,115 unique queries as narrow or general. We then analyze the differences between narrow and general queries based on part of speech and query length. Our results indicate that query length and parts-of-speech usage, by themselves, can distinguish narrow and general queries. We discuss the implications of this work for search engines, marketers and users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI EA 2013 - Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Subtitle of host publicationChanging Perspectives
EditorsMichel Beaudouin-Lafon, Patrick Baudisch, Wendy E. Mackay
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages1827-1832
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781450318990
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 27 2013
Event31st Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems:, CHI EA 2013 - Paris, France
Duration: Apr 27 2013May 2 2013

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings
Volume2013-April

Other

Other31st Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems:, CHI EA 2013
CountryFrance
CityParis
Period4/27/135/2/13

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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  • Cite this

    Hafernik, C. T., & Jansen, B. J. (2013). Understanding the Specificity of Web Search Queries. In M. Beaudouin-Lafon, P. Baudisch, & W. E. Mackay (Eds.), CHI EA 2013 - Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems: Changing Perspectives (pp. 1827-1832). (Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings; Vol. 2013-April). Association for Computing Machinery. https://doi.org/10.1145/2468356.2468684