UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The Role of Domain Knowledge in Search as Learning O'Brien, Heather, 1977-; Kampen, Andrea; Cole, Amelia; Brennan, Kathy


The purpose of this paper is to explore the differences in learning outcomes between domain experts and non-experts interacting with a digital library. This paper provides a preliminary analysis of a subset of data from a larger study and compares the learning outcomes of 10 domain experts and 10 non-experts. Participants completed three search tasks designed to elicit different cognitive processes and behaviors; learning outcomes were explored with pre- and post-session written summaries and pre- and post-task questions. We used existing metrics to examine the learning breadth and depth of the written summaries. General searchers wrote longer summaries than domain experts, but there were no significant differences in the learning outcomes between the two groups.

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