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Sensemaking in Web-based environments

Ann Abraham, Thursday 3rd June, 17:15 pm - 17:30 pm, Student Presentations 4, JLB Meeting Room 1

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2 June 2010

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Problem domain: use the web a lot for getting information and we try to make sense and interpret it and turn it into a format for our own needs.

Want to know how users make sense of and represent their sensemaking whilst seeking information in web-based environments; what are the implications for design (?)

There is little attention paid to information usage and there is research into everyday sense-making.

She ran 3 empirical studies – the first was a exploration – which looked at the interaction strategies. This then helped focused on Study 2 and Study 3.

From Study 1 – observed 9 PhD students – there were 4 broad interaction behaviours occurring in particular seeking. From the framework helped to determine where the sensemaking was occurring – which was based on the students’ utterances.

In Study 2, observed students doing a comprehension task. Found that there was a resource interaction. Many students had multiple resources in use. There were 5 interaction behaviours – the 4 has found in Study 1 ... this was plan. They algebraically coded these behaviours and developed episodes of behaviour to represent a session.

Broad sense- making strategy was very complex – often many resources in play. Information sources typically sought and processed sequentially.


What sort of navigation support were you thinking of? There was a high rate of switching errors. When they switched between two applications – there were a lot of errors – such as between a slide show or MS Word

Did they have to do a new task or work on something they already knew? This was a given task.

17:18 on 3 June 2010

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