Title: Consumers' allocation of cognitive resources in web-based search: an exploratory study

Authors: Valerie J. Trifts, Elaine G. Toms

Addresses: Faculty of Management, Dalhousie University, 6100 University Ave, B3H 3J5, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. ' Centre for Management Informatics, Dalhousie University, 6100 University Ave, B3H 3J5, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Abstract: In this paper, we discuss factors that influence how consumers allocate their search effort between searching within information sources (e.g., websites) and searching for relevant sources of such information (e.g., by employing general search engines). We propose that the nature of the search task as well as characteristics of the individual, influence the amount of time spent conducting each component of the search task and may account for several findings indicating that, despite the seemingly low cost of online information search, consumers tend to search relatively few sources of information prior to purchase.

Keywords: consumer information search; task complexity; cognitive resource allocation; electronic business; e-business; web searching; search engines; information retrieval; online searching; purchasing decisions; consumer behaviour.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEB.2007.016471

International Journal of Electronic Business, 2007 Vol.5 No.6, pp.561 - 575

Published online: 30 Dec 2007 *

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