PhD Seminar • Data Systems — Studying Query Abandonment Behavior in Web SearchExport this event to calendar

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 — 12:00 PM EST

Please note: This PhD seminar will be given online.

Mustafa Abualsaud, PhD candidate
David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science

Supervisor: Professor Mark D. Smucker

When search results fail to satisfy users’ information needs, users often reformulate their search query in the hopes of receiving better results. In many cases, users abandon their queries without clicking on any search results. 

In this paper, we report on a user study designed to investigate the rate at which users abandon their queries at different levels of search quality. We had users search for answers to questions as we manipulated the placement of the only relevant document in a ranked list of search results. We show that as the quality of search results decreases, the probability of query abandonment increases. We find that users can quickly decide to abandon their queries, and the time to query abandonment appears to be independent of the quality of the search results. Finally, we show that there appears to be two types of users. One group has a high probability of query abandonment and the other is unlikely to query abandonment unless no relevant documents can be found in the search results. While requerying takes time, it is the group of users who are more likely to abandon their queries are able to able find answers to questions the fastest.


To join this PhD seminar on Zoom, please go to https://zoom.us/j/91542106262?pwd=DSGLunch.

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