MANUSCRIPT: How is a search system used in work task completion?
Typically studies of information retrieval and interactive information retrieval concentrate on the identification of relevant items. In this study, rather than stop at finding relevant items, we considered how people use a search system in the completion of a broader work task. To conduct the study, we created 12 tasks that required multiple queries and document views in order to find enough information to complete the task. A total of 381 people completed three tasks each in a laboratory setting using the wikiSearch system that was embedded into WiIRE. Results found that two-thirds of time spent on the task was spent after finding a relevant set of documents sufficient for task completion, and that time was mainly spent reviewing documents that had already been retrieved. Findings suggest that an open-source information retrieval system, such as Lucene, was adequate for this task. However, the ultimate challenge will be in building useful systems that aid the user in extracting, interpreting and analysing information to achieve work task completion.