The use of
word association testing in the construction of information retrieval
All library staff members are
invited to participate in a study that examines the feasibility of using word
association tests in the construction of more user-centered thesauri. One of the
most pressing challenges faced by thesaurus designers is to create term
hierarchies that will be intuitive to the end-users of the thesauri; e.g., is it
obvious that the term freedom is a broader term for civil rights,
or would the reverse be actually truer for some searchers? Is de facto
relationships an obvious equivalent term for living together or
cohabitation? How can thesaurus designers determine the most typical, or
“prototype” ways in which searchers are likely to associate terms with a given
concept? Word association testing has been used in cognitive psychology and in
the design of ontologies to ascertain how people group terms around central
concepts. In typical word
association tests, participants are asked to note the first words that come to
mind in response to a particular stimulus term.
interested in participating, you will be provided with a set of 15 stimulus
terms from the domain of Library and Information Studies. For each stimulus
term, you will be asked to spend no more than 2 minutes to write down any
response words that you think are related to the term and to specify how you
think these terms are inter-related.
There are no right or wrong answers, nor a minimum or maximum number of
response words. You will not be asked to identify yourself on the word
association test. Please rest
assured that your identity will not be revealed in any reports or publications
and that you are free to withdraw your participation at any time.
If you have
any questions and/or are interested in participating in this study, please feel
free to contact me. Thank you in
advance for your consideration.
Library and Information Studies
NS. B3J 3H5