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Information Seeking Stopping Behavior in Online Scenarios

The Impact of Task, Technology and Individual Characteristics


Erik Hemmer

The growing amount of information provided via web-based information technologies forces the users of these technologies to stop seeking for information before having acquired all available information. This stopping decision is either made actively following clear guidelines or subconsciously based on the seeker’s intuition. This book analyzes the aforementioned duality by developing and testing a multi-theoretical research model dealing with information seeking stopping behavior in online scenarios. Thus, by delivering insights into the mechanisms that influence information seeking activities, this study does not only advance theory building in the Information Systems discipline and adjacent fields but is also highly relevant for practitioners and developers of information technology.


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6. Discussion


The objective of the present study consists in the development and validation of a mid-range theory for explaining and predicting human information seeking and stopping behavior. Thus, it aims at providing insights into the variables influ­ encing the aforementioned behavior and hence answers questions regarding when and why individuals stop seeking for information. By combining dual-process theories (Cacioppo et al., 1996; Chaiken, 1980; Petty and Cacioppo, 1986), so­ cial presence theory (Short et al., 1976; Straub and Karahanna, 1998) and the effort-accuracy framework of cognition (Payne, 1982; Wang and Benbasat, 2009), the study’s research model extends existing stopping behavior research by ex­ plicitly taking into account that human information seekers do not necessarily process information in a purely rational way. On the contrary, the use of spon­ taneous, experiential stopping rules is proposed based on research in the field of heuristic choice and decision making (Aschenbrenner et al., 1984; Gigerenzer and Goldstein, 1999; Gigerenzer et al., 1999). In this chapter, the major results of the laboratory experiment presented in the previous chapter are discussed. Following an interpretation of the empirical data collected in the experiment sessions, the study’s theoretical contributions are demonstrated and complemented by managerial implications. Finally, the specific limitations of this research project are described, before opportunities for future research are outlined. 6.1. Interpretation o f R esults The results of the empirical investigation strongly support the existence of two fundamentally different categories of reasons why humans stop seeking for infor­ mation in online settings: Whereas one group...

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