Gender differences in patterns of searching the Web

Marguerite Roy, Michelene T.H. Chi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


There has been a national call for increased use of computers and technology in schools. Currently, however, little is known about how students use and learn from these technologies. This study explores how eighth-grade students use the Web to search for, browse, and find information in response to a specific prompt (how mosquitoes find their prey). A previous analysis (Roy, Taylor & Chi, 2003) found that boys performed significantly better on gaining target-specific (information directly related to the prompt) and target-related (information related to mosquitoes in general) knowledge than girls. The current article explores this difference further by examining how students searched the Web for information. Each student's search behavior was diagramed out and a series of six different "search moves" were derived. Statistical analysis of these search variables revealed that boys tended to employ a different search pattern from girls and that this variation in search behavior was related to the pattern of performance outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-348
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Educational Computing Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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