Conference paper Open Access

Influence of Language and Task Complexity on Internet Searching Performance

Shim, Wonsik; Byun, Jeayeon

The Web now provides instant access to an unprecedented amount of information
that was unthinkable even 20–30 years ago. However, the full potential
of the contents available through the Internet can only be realized when
one can speak the lingua franca online, English. According to a recent survey
(Web Technology Surveys, 2015), more than 55% of web contents are in
English. Previous studies have shown that non-native speakers’ English proficiency
affects their searching behaviors and performance (Bilal, 1989, Liao,
Finn & Lu, 2007, Onwuegbuzie & Jiao, 1997). In this study, we try to investigate
the effect of search task languages and task complexity on searching
performance. In other words, we want to understand the extent to which the
use of a foreign language becomes a barrier – when one’s native language is
not English but one has to use English for searching on the Web for personal
or work related tasks.

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