Schulte-Mecklenbeck, M. and Huber, O. (2003) Information search in the laboratory and on the Web: With or without an experimenter. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, Vol. 35, No. 2, pp. 227-235.
The studies of Schulte-Mecklenbeck and Huber focused on the effect of the location of test comparing laboratory settings and uncontrolled settings in locations selected by the users. The users were asked to do risky decision making, and find information from the Web as basis for their decisions. The results showed that participants doing the information retrieval tasks on their own, used less information for their decisions than participants in the laboratory settings. Difference in the number of dropouts was also considerable, as all of the participants in laboratory settings completed the experiment, but in informal settings, the dropout rate was 20%. As one plausible explanation for the differences in users’ behaviour in different settings, Schulte-Mecklenbeck and Huber suggest the presence of an experimenter in the laboratory settings.