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Intriguing behavior when testing the impact of quotation marks usage in Google search results

Bogdan Ileanu, Marcel Ausloos (), Claudiu Herteliu () and Marian Pompiliu Cristescu
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Claudiu Herteliu: Bucharest University of Economic Studies

Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, 2019, vol. 53, issue 5, No 16, 2507-2519

Abstract: Abstract Internet research on search engine quality and validity of results demand much concern. Thus, the focus in our study has been to measure the impact of quotation marks usage on the internet search outputs in terms of Google search outcomes’ distributions, through Benford Law. The current paper is focused on applying a Benford Law analysis on two related types of internet searches distinguished by the usage or absence of quotation marks. Both search results values are assumed as variables. We found that the first digit of outcomes does not follow the Benford Law first digit of numbers in the case of searching text without quotation marks. Unexpectedly, the Benford Law is obeyed when quotation marks are used, even if the variability of search outcomes is considerably reduced. By studying outputs demonstrating influences of (apparently at first) “details”, in using a search engine, the authors are able to further warn the users concerning the validity of such outputs.

Keywords: Benford law; Google search; Head of the world states; Quotation marks (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1007/s11135-018-0771-0

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