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Communications of the Association for Information Systems

Abstract

We examine how online searches lead to judgment formation in two contexts where statements are negated differently. In one context, a statement (of the form “if P then Q”) is negated using “not” (as in “if P then not Q”), while in the other context, it is negated using a different term or phrase (as in “if P then R”). We show that online searches to find information about the validity of this statement generate different results in these contexts. Our findings contribute to extant work on online searches by suggesting that when individuals test the validity of a statement using search engines, their searches lead to categorically different results contingent on the search context. From a practical standpoint, we make recommendations to search engine developers and content providers so online searches generate more inclusive results.

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