A subjunctive Exploratory Search Interface to Support Media Studies Researchers

Aug 12, 2012
[Work published prior to Yahoo]

Media studies concerns the study of production, content, and/or reception of various types of media. Today's continuous production and storage of media is changing the way media studies researchers work and requires the development of new search models and tools. We investigate the research cycle of media studies researchers and find that it is an iterative process consisting of several search processes in which data is gathered and the research question is refined. Changes in the research question, however, trigger new data gathering processes. Based on these outcomes we propose a subjunctive exploratory search interface to support media studies researchers in refining their research question in an earlier stage of their research. To assess the subjunctive interface we conduct a user study and compare to a traditional exploratory search interface. We find that with the subjunctive interface users explore more diverse topics than with the standard interface and that users formulate more specific research questions. Although the subjunctive interface is more complex, this does not decrease its usability. These findings suggest that the subjunctive interface supports media studies researchers. The advantage of a subjunctive interface for exploration suggests a new direction for the development of exploratory search systems.

  • SIGIR 2012
  • Conference/Workshop Paper