Online information search and decision making: Effects of web search stance

Rod Roscoe, Carola Grebitus, Joseph O'Brian, Adam C. Johnson, Irfan Kula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


A naturalistic online information search exposes individuals to multiple sites and conflicting perspectives. In this study, we evaluated how the holistic stance of a web search toward a product influences purchasing decisions. We recruited 109 participants who completed an initial product choice task regarding bottled water, a brief Internet search, and then a second post-search product choice task. Internet searches were analyzed to identify query terms, site visits, and stance. Results show that query terms influenced the types of sites obtained in a search, which in turn shaped the overall search stance. Participants were more likely to buy bottled water when they visited websites that emphasized environmental, economic, or health benefits for bottled water (i.e., positive stance). Participants who were asked to focus on environmental issues were less likely to buy bottled water unless packaged in recycled plastic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-118
Number of pages16
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Advertising
  • Choice modeling
  • Decision making
  • Online information search
  • Online learning
  • Search behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • General Psychology


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