FOIOTI : an implementation of the conceptualist approach to Internet information retrieval

M. Weideman


The objective of this research project was to evaluate searching methodologies used by undergraduate learners in searching for academic information, and to design an aid if required. Literature surveys indicated that the sheer size of the Internet and lack of categorization of the information available makes finding relevant information a daunting task. Other problems include a lack of clear search specification formulation and inefficient usage of time and computing power by loading and using one search engine at a time. It was also clear from the literature that Internet searchers have difficulty in general to locate relevant information. The methodology used included empirical experiments involving a total of 1109 learners in a series of empirical experiments to address this situation. Their failure/success, methodology and a number of other factors were measured, and an instrument was designed to overcome these problems. The main conclusion was that the use of this instrument (called FOIOTI: Finder Of Information On The Internet) increased the chances of success under controlled circumstances dramatically. This was achieved by hiding the operationalist detail from the user, allowing him/ her to concentrate on conceptualizing the topic.


Internet searching; Information retrieval; information interface; search engine; FOIOTI

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