Text navigation in multiple source use

Alexandra List, Patricia A. Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Drawing on theories in evolutionary biology, research on hypertext navigation has posited two profiles to capture how students navigate information sources: the satisficing and sampling approaches of text access. While students engaged in sampling work to identify an optimal source to exploit for information, students who adopt a satisficing approach to text use spend time on accessing the first text they visit that meets some threshold of acceptability. This study examines the manifestation of these profiles when students navigate multiple, non-hyperlinked texts, without time limitations. Evidence was found for a satisficing, but not a sampling, approach to multiple text navigation. Four sub-profiles of satisficing approaches were identified. Students in the limited navigation profile devoted little time to text access. Students in the primary profile devoted the bulk of access time to a single text. Those in the distributed profile visited the texts they accessed for fairly uniform periods of time. Students in the discriminating profile visited certain texts for substantial periods of time, while accessing other texts to a more limited extent. These four navigation profiles were found to be differentially associated with other metrics of text access (e.g., whether texts were revisited), ratings of text usefulness, and task performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-375
Number of pages12
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - Oct 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)


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