Undergraduates' online search strategies and visual attention distribution


The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between the undergraduates’ online searching strategies and visual attention distribution by using eye-tracking technique. Thirty-one undergraduate subjects participated in the experiment in which they were asked to solve a task individually regarding the requirements for causing landslides. Participants’ visual attention distribution were measured with an eye-tracker. Students’ online searching strategies were assessed via a online information searching strategy inventory immediately after the online searching task. Results of this study revealed that students with higher prior knowledge can better identify relevant information from websites. And students with better problem-solving performance were found to spend more time reading relevant online information. In addition, students with better evaluation strategy were found to integrate the relevant information more efficiently. Furthermore, a significant gender difference was found in their visual attention allocated on the task problem and on the first page of search results.

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