Peng Chu¹, Anita Komlodi¹, Gyöngyi Rózsa²
¹University of Maryland, Baltimore County, United States of America; ²Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary

Monday, November 9, 8:00am

Non-native English speakers (NNESs) often search in English due to the limited availability of information in their native language on the Web. Information seeking in a non-native language can present special challenges for users. Current research literature on non-native language search behavior is insufficient and even less is known about how online systems and tools may accommodate NNESs’ needs and assist their behaviors. To gain a better understanding of user behavior and the search process of NNESs, this paper presents a study of online searching in English as a foreign language (EFL) or second-language (L2). Particular attention is paid to language selection, search challenges, query formulation and reformulation, as well as user interaction with online systems and tools. Results from eight focus groups (36 participants) and 36 questionnaires indicate NNESs face a unique set of challenges that may not be present for native speakers when searching for information in English. A user interaction model is abstracted to address the iterative and spiral search process of NNESs. Implications for design of systems and tools to assist this particular user group are discussed.