As queries submitted by users directly affect search experiences, how to organize queries has always been a research focus in Web search studies. While search request becomes complex and exploratory, many search sessions contain more than a single query thus reformulation becomes a necessity. To help users better formulate their queries in these complex search tasks, modern search engines usually provide a series of reformulation entries on search engine result pages (SERPs), i.e., query suggestions and related entities. However, few existing work have thoroughly studied why and how users perform query reformulations in these heterogeneous interfaces. Therefore, whether search engines provide sufficient assistance for users in reformulating queries remains under-investigated. To shed light on this research question, we conducted a field study to analyze fine-grained user reformulation behaviors including reformulation type, entry, reason, and the inspiration source with various search intents. Different from existing efforts that rely on external assessors to make judgments, in the field study we collect both implicit behavior signals and explicit user feedback information. Analysis results demonstrate that query reformulation behavior in Web search varies with the type of search tasks. We also found that the current query suggestion/related query recommendations provided by search engines do not offer enough help for users in complex search tasks. Based on the findings in our field study, we design a supervised learning framework to predict: 1) the reason behind each query reformulation, and 2) how users organize the reformulated query, both of which are novel challenges in this domain. This work provides insight into complex query reformulation behavior in Web search as well as the guidance for designing better query suggestion techniques in search engines.

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