Dynamic assessment of information acquisition effort during interactive search

Michael J. Cole, Jacek Gwizdka, Chang Liu, Nicholas J. Belkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We present a method to measure some aspects of cognitive effort by a user while reading during a search session. We measured reading eye movement properties and patterns of eye movement in a user study (n=32) of participants carrying out realistic journalism IR work tasks. The results show the cognitive effort measures correlate positively with the information task characteristics that, by hypothesis, contribute to task difficulty. They also correlate well with participant self-assessed task difficulty. Our methodology can be applied to eye tracking data in any (textual) information setting and used to give dynamic estimates of these aspects of cognitive processing during search.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalProceedings of the ASIST Annual Meeting
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


  • Cognitive effort
  • Eye-tracking
  • Methodology
  • Search task difficulty
  • User study

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