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Title / Titel:

Gender-specific information search behavior

Author / Autor:Maghferat, P., & Stock, W.G.
Source / Quelle:

Webology, 7(2), Article 80.

Language / Sprache:English / Englisch

Gender-specific information search behavior

This paper presents an empirical gender study in the context of information science. It discusses an exploratory investigation, which provides empirical data about differences of information seeking activities by female and male students. The research focus was on whether there are gender-specific differences when people perform searches with the aid of general search engines and specialized Deep Web information services. It has been observed how the participants behaved in getting information and how the gender groups differ from each other. Which search system (search engine or professional information supplier) has been preferred by the gender groups at first? How did the gender groups search (applied operators, modifications of query formulations, targeted search)? How far were the users satisfied with their results? For data collection paper-questionnaires have been used and the answers have been statistically analyzed with the help of SPSS. The questionnaire consisted of four different search tasks each with seven sub-questions. The research and the obtained result data indicate at least in the choice of search sources, the satisfaction with this source and the results obtained a gender-specific difference. Men tried to use professional information services as well as search engines for search, regardless of the difficulty of the search task and its formulation. In contrast, women behaved cautiously in choosing search sources. They decided either on sources, which they knew skillfully or where their use was assigned. Women were generally more satisfied with the obtained results as men. These data can represent an initial approach for further analysis of gender-specific Web search behavior.


Wolfgang G. Stock
Department of Information Science
Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf
Universitätsstrasse 1
D-40225 Düsseldorf
Fax: +49-211-81-12917