Doctoral thesis

Tracing the decision maker


150 p

Thèse de doctorat: Université de Fribourg, 2005

English This thesis focuses on two themes: a methodological and a decision making one. The methodological part introduces the development of a computerized information search tool. The program, called WebDiP (Web Decision Processes), enables the researcher to track participants while they are searching for information in a database. An experiment can be done either in the laboratory or on the Web. The first study identifies methodological shortcomings in an earlier software version and clarifies these problems with the introduction of WebDiP. The decision making part concentrates on the question whether the content (domain) of a decision has an influence on decision making, i.e., in the introduced process tracing approach, the information search. Three domains (business, law and medicine) are selected and for each domain two tasks developed. All six tasks (3 domains X 2 tasks per domain) have the same structure, probabilities and outcomes. In the second study a large scale online experiment with over 360 participants pursues the research question whether different domains elicit different search behaviours or differences in used information (type) are pursued. Results of this experiment illustrate problems within the assumption that one task is always representative for one domain. Furthermore, patterns are identified which are representative for a task but not necessarily for a domain. Both themes are discussed in light of the current literature on online research, process tracing and domain differences.
Faculté des lettres
  • English
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