Revised version: A Visual Search Tool for Early Elementary Science Students, Journal of Science Education and Technology (2002), 11(1), 49-57
HCIL-2000-19, CS-TR-4187, UMIACS-TR-2000-68
This paper describes a quantitative study focused on two
questions: (1) Can children understand and use a hierarchical domain
structure to find particular instances of animals? (2) Can children
construct search queries to conduct complex searches if sufficiently
supported, both visually and conceptually? These two questions have been
explored in the context of developing a digital library interface (called
"QueryKids") for children ages 5-10 years old that visualizes the querying
process and its results. The results of this study showed that children
were able to search very efficiently, primarily using a "fewest-steps"
strategy, with the QueryKids software prototype. In addition, children were
able to construct search queries with a high degree of accuracy. Results
are discussed in terms of the scaffolding support that QueryKids provides,
and its effectiveness in helping children to search efficiently and
construct complex search queries.