Inside Out: Exploring the Emotional Side of Search Engines in the Classroom

Monica Landoni, Maria Soledad Pera, Emiliana Murgia, and Theo Huibers. 2020. “Inside Out: Exploring the Emotional Side of Search Engines in the Classroom”. Long paper in Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization (UMAP ‘20). ACM, 95-100 pp. DOI:10.1145/3340631.3394847.


In the classroom, children mainly use general search systems such as Google, Baidu or Bing. For many years and from different perspectives, a call has been made that it is necessary to provide children in an educational context with child-friendly search systems. Research responding to this call often focuses on the relevance, readability and reliability of the retrieved documents. Instead, inspired by a recent study based on adult users on the role emotions play in web search, we explore whether and how children searching in a school context react to the emotional content often part of Search Engine Result Pages. We do so by examining emotions inferred from queries and corresponding retrieved resources in query logs produced by children ages 9 to 11 in a classroom setting in 3 different countries. We also consider teachers’ observations that contextualize this analysis.