Internet users are very comfortable in their role as searchers. Some 92% of those who use search engines say they are confident about their searching abilities, with over half, 52%, of that group saying they’re “very confident” in their abilities, and 48% saying they’re somewhat confident. Only 8% of searchers say they lack confidence in their searching.
Who are they? Some 60% of very confident searchers are men and 40% are women. They are more likely to be young, better educated, and of higher income. The very confident searchers have more experience online than others: 89% have had internet access for more than 4 years, significantly more than the 75% of those somewhat confident searchers and 71% of those with no confidence.
Although searching is a positive experience for almost all searchers, it’s not surprising that the more confident the searcher, the more engaged he is as a searcher and the more rewarding is his search experience.
Of the 48% of searchers who describe themselves as very confident in their abilities, almost half, or 49% of them search at least once a day compared to 23% of those who describe themselves as “somewhat confident” and 7% of those who lack confidence in their search abilities. Some 34% of very confident searchers search several times a day.
Among the very confident searchers, 34% say most of what they search for is information that is important to them, compared to 24% of somewhat confident searchers and only 9% of searchers without confidence in their abilities. Further, Some 44% say they couldn’t live without search engines, compared to 24% of those who are somewhat confident and 14% of those who have no confidence. Of those who are somewhat confident, 55% say they like search engines, but could go back to other ways of searching. Of those without confidence 41% say they wouldn’t miss search engines at all if they could no longer use them.
Of the very confident searchers, 95% says they find their results most of the time, with 27% saying they always find the results they seek. Some 85% of those who are somewhat confident usually find their results, and even an impressive 47% of those who lack confidence in their searching say they usually find results they’re looking for. A recent study of computer science students at Wellesley College showed similar findings, that “the confidence a student has in her abilities to search the internet effectively does not significantly affect her performance.”