Research on Web Search Behavior: How Online Query Data Inform Social Psychology

Kaisheng Lai, Yan Xin Lee, Hao Chen*, Rongjun Yu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The widespread use of web searches in daily life has allowed researchers to study people's online social and psychological behavior. Using web search data has advantages in terms of data objectivity, ecological validity, temporal resolution, and unique application value. This review integrates existing studies on web search data that have explored topics including sexual behavior, suicidal behavior, mental health, social prejudice, social inequality, public responses to policies, and other psychosocial issues. These studies are categorized as descriptive, correlational, inferential, predictive, and policy evaluation research. The integration of theory-based hypothesis testing in future web search research will result in even stronger contributions to social psychology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)596-602
Number of pages7
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications

User-Defined Keywords

  • big data
  • Google
  • social psychology
  • web search


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