Investigation of users' knowledge change process in learning-related search tasks

Hanrui Liu, Chang Liu, Nicholas J. Belkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This study aims to examine users' knowledge change characteristics and knowledge change process, and examined factors that may influence users' knowledge change process. A user search experiment was conducted, in which participants were asked to search for two learning-related search tasks and use a mind-map to organize their thoughts during the search process. Pre- and post-search questionnaires were distributed to collect users' self-assessed topic familiarity and task difficulty. Besides the overall knowledge change process by all the users, we identified four types of knowledge change styles using a hierarchical clustering method: Early knowledge change, Medium-term knowledge change, Late knowledge change and Average knowledge change. In addition, we found that task type, task difficulty in information integration and difficulty in drawing the mind-map had significant influences on users' knowledge change styles. This study took a process perspective to characterize users' knowledge change at different stages and shed light on when and how learning occurs during the search process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-175
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Library and Information Sciences


  • Knowledge Change Process
  • Learning-Related Tasks
  • Mind-Map
  • Search as Learning


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