Cognitive stopping rules for terminating information search in online tasks

  • Browne G
  • Pitts M
  • Wetherbe J
  • 138


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 89


    Citations of this article.


Online search has become a significant activity in the daily lives of individuals throughout much of the world. The almost instantaneous availability of billions of web pages has caused a revolution in the way people seek information. Despite the increasing importance of online search behavior in decision making and problem solving, very little is known about why people stop searching for information online. In this paper, we review the literature concerning online search and cognitive stopping rules, and then describe specific types of information search tasks. Based on this theoretical development, we generated hypotheses and conducted an experiment with 115 participants each performing three search tasks on the web. Our findings show that people utilize a number of stopping rules to terminate search, and that the stopping rule used depends on the type of task performed. Implications for online information search theory and practice are discussed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • cognitive stopping rules
  • decision making
  • information search
  • online search behavior
  • task types and

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • Glenn J Browne

  • Mitzi G Pitts

  • James C Wetherbe

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free