Proactive identification of query failure

Jiqun Liu, Chirag Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


When a user fails to find any useful information to support the task at hand after issuing a query, the user experiences a query failure. Since users possess limited cognitive resources, query failures often lead to user frustration as no clear benefit is obtained from the associated search interactions. Therefore, to improve users' search experiences, we conducted a controlled-lab study with 40 participants, seeking to explore the extent to which query failures can be proactively identified before users start examining the retrieved results. Specifically, based on the data collected from 693 query segments generated in 80 search sessions, we used past search behaviors and current query attributes as features to build classifiers and examined the performance in capturing query failures. We report that (1) analytics algorithms utilizing past search behavioral data have significantly better performances than the baseline model in tasks of different types, and (2) The knowledge of users' search intentions can help improve the performance of the prediction model. Results pave way for developing proactive system supports for task-based search interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-185
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


  • Proactive Information Retrieval
  • Query Failure
  • Search Intention
  • Task-Based Information Searching


Dive into the research topics of 'Proactive identification of query failure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this