Economic models of search

24th June 2015

24th June 2015 at 11:00

Speaker: Leif Azzopardi, researcher at University of Glasgow, Glasgow, U.K


Understanding how people interact when searching is central to the study of Interactive Information Retrieval (IIR). Most of the prior work has either been conceptual, observational or empirical. While this has led to numerous insights and findings regarding the interaction between users and systems, the theory has lagged behind. In this talk, I will first provide an overview of the typical IIR process. Then I will introduce an economic model of search based on production theory. This initial model is then extended to incorporate other variables that affect the interaction between the user and the search engine. The refined model is more realistic, provides a better description of the IIR process and enables us to generate eight interaction-based hypotheses regarding search behavior. To validate the model, I will show how the observed search behaviors from an empirical study with thirty-six participants were consistent with the theory. This work not only describes a concise and compact representation of search behavior, but also provides a strong theoretical basis for future IIR research. The modeling techniques used are also more generally applicable to other situations involving Human Computer Interaction, and could be helpful in understand many other scenarios.

This talk is based on the paper, Modeling Interaction with Economic Models of Search  which received an Honorable Mention at ACM SIGIR 2014.