Information search and consideration sets: A comparison of traditional and Web-based decision environments

Date of Completion

January 2000


Business Administration, Marketing|Information Science




In this dissertation, I study the differential outcomes of consumer external information search and consideration set development between traditional and World Wide Web (Web) based decision environments. Using the buyer decision making framework, I propose that the amount of search, satisfaction with the search process, size of the consideration set, content of the consideration set, and satisfaction with the consideration set is dependent on the decision environment as well as the interaction of key task variables (i.e., time pressure and number of alternatives). ^ I explore and test my hypotheses in a single experiment using an apartment search task. The traditional decision environment consisted of an apartment book featuring actual apartment profiles. Search activities were tracked through protocol analysis of videotaped search sessions. For the Web-based decision environment, I developed a Web-based relational database system that consisted of the same apartment information in the book, where individual search queries were automatically tracked. I demonstrate that the different decision environments produce different outcomes in the amount of information search, consideration set size and consideration set composition. ^