Validation of a model of information seeking over multiple search sessions



Most information systems share a common assumption: information seeking is discrete. Such an assumption neither reflects real-life information seeking processes nor conforms to the perspective of phenomenology, “life is a journey constituted by continuous acquisition of knowledge.” Thus, this study develops and validates a theoretical model that explains successive search experience for essentially the same information problem. The proposed model is called Multiple Information Seeking Episodes (MISE), which consists of four dimensions: problematic situation, information problem, information seeking process, episodes. Eight modes of multiple information seeking episodes are identified and specified with properties of the four dimensions of MISE. The results partially validate MISE by finding that the original MISE model is highly accurate, but less sufficient in characterizing successive searches; all factors in the MISE model are empirically confirmed, but new factors are identified as well. The revised MISE model is shifted from the user-centered to the interaction-centered perspective, taking into account factors of searcher, system, search activity, search context, information attainment, and information use activities.