Recommendations for Reporting Web Usage Studies

Recommendations for Reporting Web Usage Studies

Kirstie Hawkey (University of British Columbia, Canada) and Melanie Kellar (Google, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-974-8.ch010
OnDemand PDF Download:


This chapter presents recommendations for reporting context in studies of Web usage including Web browsing behavior. These recommendations consist of eight categories of contextual information crucial to the reporting of results: user characteristics, temporal information, Web browsing environment, nature of the Web browsing task, data collection methods, descriptive data reporting, statistical analysis, and results in the context of prior work. This chapter argues that the Web and its user population are constantly growing and evolving. This changing temporal context can make it difficult for researchers to evaluate previous work in the proper context, particularly when detailed information about the user population, experimental methodology, and results is not presented. The adoption of these recommendations will allow researchers in the area of Web browsing behavior to more easily replicate previous work, make comparisons between their current work and previous work, and build upon previous work to advance the field.
Chapter Preview


A variety of Web browsing behaviors have been studied since the mid 1990’s via a variety of methodological approaches. However, although standard recommendations for the reporting of results are used in other research domains, none exist for reporting of the methodological details and results for studies of Web browsing behavior. In this section, we first discuss standardized reporting of results. We then present the seminal papers in the field of Web browsing behavior and provide temporal context with respect to the Web browsing environment and user population at the time of the seminal studies. We also discuss methods of observing users’ Web browsing behavior, as these will impact the data collected.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Study Instruments: The research tools used to collect the study data. For studies of Web usage, these usually include logging software which may be located client-side, server-side or accessed through a proxy server.

Population Characteristics: Attributes of the participant population including such factors as age, sex, background, occupation, Web experience and sample size. Individual differences in Web browsing behaviour may arise as a result of such characteristics.

Study Setting: Description of the study environment including the location and experimental setup. For studies of web usage, this includes the browsing environment as well as any visible data collection methods.

Study Context: Contextual factors which may impact results of a study. For studies of Web usage, these factors include the temporal context of the study, the study setting, the browsing environment, the task, the data collection methods used, the study instruments and metrics captured, and the characteristics of the population studied.

Temporal Context: Temporal information which may impact interpretation of a study. At different points in time, different browsing environments and activities emerge and become part of users’ experiences. Temporal factors which can be reported include the date of the study and duration of the study.

Browsing Environment: Description of the context within which Web browsing occurs. For studies of Web usage this includes the Web browser and its associated tools (e.g., history, specialized toolbars), the task, and the motivation for conducting the browsing.

Descriptive Data Reporting: Providing descriptive details about the raw data gathered to afford readers with a rich understanding of the Web browsing behaviors captured.

Browsing Task: Details about the browsing task given to the participant, including the participant’s goals. The task can be focused (e.g. information searching), more casual browsing, or may be purely navigational. The task can be directed closely by the researcher or be opportunistic and motivated by the needs of the participant.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Table of Contents
Bernard J. Jansen, Amanda Spink, Isak Taksa
Chapter 1
Bernard J. Jansen, Isak Taksa, Amanda Spink
This chapter outlines and discusses theoretical and methodological foundations for transaction log analysis. We first address the fundamentals of... Sample PDF
Research and Methodological Foundations of Transaction Log Analysis
Chapter 2
W. David Penniman
This historical review of the birth and evolution of transaction log analysis applied to information retrieval systems provides two perspectives.... Sample PDF
Historic Perspective of Log Analysis
Chapter 3
Lee Rainie, Bernard J. Jansen
Every research methodology for data collection has both strengths and limitations, and this is certainly true for transaction log analysis.... Sample PDF
Surveys as a Complementary Method for Web Log Analysis
Chapter 4
Sam Ladner
This chapter aims to improve the rigor and legitimacy of Web-traffic measurement as a social research method. I compare two dominant forms of... Sample PDF
Watching the Web: An Ontological and Epistemological Critique of Web-Traffic Measurement
Chapter 5
Kirstie Hawkey
This chapter examines two aspects of privacy concerns that must be considered when conducting studies that include the collection of Web logging... Sample PDF
Privacy Concerns for Web Logging Data
Chapter 6
Bernard J. Jansen
Exploiting the data stored in search logs of Web search engines, Intranets, and Websites can provide important insights into understanding the... Sample PDF
The Methodology of Search Log Analysis
Chapter 7
Anthony Ferrini, Jakki J. Mohr
As the Web’s popularity continues to grow and as new uses of the Web are developed, the importance of measuring the performance of a given Website... Sample PDF
Uses, Limitations, and Trends in Web Analytics
Chapter 8
Danielle Booth
This chapter is an overview of the process of Web analytics for Websites. It outlines how visitor information such as number of visitors and visit... Sample PDF
A Review of Methodologies for Analyzing Websites
Chapter 9
Gi Woong Yun
This chapter discusses validity of units of analysis of Web log data. First, Web log units are compared to the unit of analysis of television to... Sample PDF
The Unit of Analysis and the Validity of Web Log Data
Chapter 10
Kirstie Hawkey, Melanie Kellar
This chapter presents recommendations for reporting context in studies of Web usage including Web browsing behavior. These recommendations consist... Sample PDF
Recommendations for Reporting Web Usage Studies
Chapter 11
Seda Ozmutlu, Huseyin C. Ozmutlu, Amanda Spink
This chapter summarizes the progress of search engine user behavior analysis from search engine transaction log analysis to estimation of user... Sample PDF
From Analysis to Estimation of User Behavior
Chapter 12
Gheorghe Muresan
In this chapter, we describe and discuss a methodological framework that integrates analysis of interaction logs with the conceptual design of the... Sample PDF
An Integrated Approach to Interaction Design and Log Analysis
Chapter 13
Brian Detlor, Maureen Hupfer, Umar Ruhi
This chapter provides various tips for practitioners and researchers who wish to track end-user Web information seeking behavior. These tips are... Sample PDF
Tips for Tracking Web Information Seeking Behavior
Chapter 14
Sandro José Rigo
Adaptive Hypermedia is an effective approach to automatic personalization that overcomes the difficulties and deficiencies of traditional Web... Sample PDF
Identifying Users Stereotypes for Dynamic Web Pages Customization
Chapter 15
Brian K. Smith, Priya Sharma, Kyu Yon Lim, Goknur Kaplan Akilli, KyoungNa Kim, Toru Fujimoto
Computers and networking technologies have led to increases in the development and sustenance of online communities, and much research has focused... Sample PDF
Finding Meaning in Online, Very-Large Scale Conversations
Chapter 16
Isak Taksa, Sarah Zelikovitz, Amanda Spink
Search query classification is a necessary step for a number of information retrieval tasks. This chapter presents an approach to non-hierarchical... Sample PDF
Machine Learning Approach to Search Query Classification
Chapter 17
Seda Ozmutlu, Huseyin C. Ozmutlu, Amanda Spink
This chapter emphasizes topic analysis and identification of search engine user queries. Topic analysis and identification of queries is an... Sample PDF
Topic Analysis and Identification of Queries
Chapter 18
Elmer V. Bernstam, Jorge R. Herskovic, William R. Hersh
Clinicians, researchers and members of the general public are increasingly using information technology to cope with the explosion in biomedical... Sample PDF
Query Log Analysis in Biomedicine
Chapter 19
Michael Chau, Yan Lu, Xiao Fang, Christopher C. Yang
More non-English contents are now available on the World Wide Web and the number of non-English users on the Web is increasing. While it is... Sample PDF
Processing and Analysis of Search Query Logs in Chinese
Chapter 20
Udo Kruschwitz, Nick Webb, Richard Sutcliffe
The theme of this chapter is the improvement of Information Retrieval and Question Answering systems by the analysis of query logs. Two case studies... Sample PDF
Query Log Analysis for Adaptive Dialogue-Driven Search
Chapter 21
Mimi Zhang
In this chapter, we present the action-object pair approach as a conceptual framework for conducting transaction log analysis. We argue that there... Sample PDF
Using Action-Object Pairs as a Conceptual Framework for Transaction Log Analysis
Chapter 22
Paul DiPerna
This chapter proposes a new theoretical construct for evaluating Websites that facilitate online social networks. The suggested model considers... Sample PDF
Analysis and Evaluation of the Connector Website
Chapter 23
Marie-Francine Moens
This chapter introduces information extraction from blog texts. It argues that the classical techniques for information extraction that are commonly... Sample PDF
Information Extraction from Blogs
Chapter 24
Adriana Andrade Braga
This chapter explores the possibilities and limitations of nethnography, an ethnographic approach applied to the study of online interactions... Sample PDF
Nethnography: A Naturalistic Approach Towards Online Interaction
Chapter 25
Isak Taksa, Amanda Spink, Bernard J. Jansen
Web log analysis is an innovative and unique field constantly formed and changed by the convergence of various emerging Web technologies. Due to its... Sample PDF
Web Log Analysis: Diversity of Research Methodologies
About the Contributors