Untangling cost, effort, and load in information seeking and retrieval

McGregor, Molly and Azzopardi, Leif and Halvey, Martin; (2021) Untangling cost, effort, and load in information seeking and retrieval. In: CHIIR 2021 - Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval. CHIIR 2021 - Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval . ACM, New York, NY., 151–161. ISBN 9781450380553

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    Abstract

    When performing Information Seeking and Retrieval (ISR) activities, people submit queries, examine results, assess documents and engage with the information to make decisions and complete tasks. All these activities come at a “cost”, but within the field of ISR there is no universally accepted definition of the concepts of Cost, Effort, and Load (CEL). Instead, researchers have used the same terms interchangeably to describe similar but also different concepts. This lack of shared understanding has led to a disconnect between how these concepts are defined and discussed versus how they are interpreted and measured. Thus, the aim of this paper is two-fold: (i) to review the meaning of CEL related concepts used within ISR, and (ii) to create a shared taxonomy of the concepts relating to CEL in ISR. To seed our analysis, we conducted a literature review, where 397 papers were reviewed, and twenty-six papers that explicitly proposed measures or definitions of CEL were selected for analysis. By drawing upon theory from Psychology and other fields, we present the common definitions of CEL in order to ground our discussion of these concepts in ISR. We also highlight the issues associated with CEL measurement in ISR to help researchers reflect on the validity and precision of existing methods. We hope this perspectives paper serves as a basis for a taxonomy of how CEL concepts are used within ISR- where we have provided a series of working definitions that clearly delineate the different concepts being used, investigated and measured in ISR research.

    ORCID iDs

    McGregor, Molly, Azzopardi, Leif and Halvey, Martin ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6387-8679;