Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Online consumer information search behavior and the Source Site Target odification model: Understanding the role of select individual demographics, Internet attributes, and internal and external sources of involvement
by Sowma, Steven Michael, Ph.D., Union Institute and University, 2009, 361; 3370987
Abstract (Summary)

Despite the prevalent use of the Web for consumer information searches, very little is known about this behavior or the influences that individual and contextual factors may have on it. Moreover, no methodology exists for comprehensively measuring the complex array of behaviors that occur during a consumer Web session. Accordingly, a lab experiment, a contrived online product search-and-purchase task, was used to determine how these factors influence search behavior and purchase outcomes. Purchase contexts were manipulated by variations in task instructions. A survey was used to measure individual traits. A newly proposed measurement schema, the Source Site Target codification model, was used to quantify session-wide Web behaviors—leading to a variety of original findings. Contrary to past research, education was a non-factor and women outperformed men across online search behaviors. Age was negatively associated with consumer Web searches. Contrastingly, Web experience and search skill were positively associated with consumer Web searches, whereas purchase experience was negatively associated with consumer Web searches. Individual and contextual derivations of involvement (motivation) influenced not only the extent of a given Web search, but the nature of the search as well. Surprisingly, although individual and situational factors significantly and sometimes dramatically impacted consumer Web behaviors, changes in behavior were not associated with purchase performance While the Web is adaptable to a variety of users, it is not a "perfectly efficient" medium. Individuals were susceptible to making sub-optimal purchase decisions regardless of individual traits or contexts.

Key words. Consumer Web Behavior, Web Research Methods, Online Consumer Searches, Online Purchases, Demographics, Involvement, and the Need for Cognition.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Colburn, Ellen
Commitee:
School: Union Institute and University
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 70/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Marketing, Social research, Behavioral psychology, Information science
Keywords: Consumer, Consumer Web behavior, Consumer Web search behavior, Demographics, Information search, Internet research methods, Involvement, Need for cognition, Online, Online consumer searches, Online purchases, Source site target codification, Web research methods
Publication Number: 3370987
ISBN: 9781109326390
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