This paper outlines a broad research agenda aimed at examining the manner in which individual differences in information seeking behavior interact with the search task to affect search outcomes. As part of this agenda, we describe specific experimentation that will assess the impact of both Need for Cognition (the tendency to elaborate upon, structure and evaluate information) and Self- and Other-Orientation (gender-related traits that tap independent versus interdependent characteristics) on the search outcomes that arise in attribute- versus alternative-based decision making. We hypothesize that among individuals identified by these instruments as having a high propensity for effortful search, we will observe more detailed search strategies but also will see a greater tendency for information overload. Conversely, those who are more prone to superficial search may appear to be more efficient, but may be sacrificing accuracy for speed.
Hupfer, Maureen E,; Detlor, Brian; Toms, Elaine; and Trifts, Valerie, "Online Information Seeking: Understanding Individual Differences and Search Contexts" (2009). AMCIS 2009 Proceedings. 670.