My research interests lie at the intersection of information retrieval and human-computer interaction. I am interested in studying information search behaviour and in developing tools that help people search more successfully. I have been focused in exploring how context can help improve the experience of health consumers searching the Web. In a greater depth, I have explored users' personal context like his proficiency in the English language, health literacy and familiarity with the task in query formulation support.

PhD Thesis

In my PhD I studied how context can contribute to improve system's performance on consumer Health Information Retrieval (HIR).

I analyzed how context affects consumer HIR and, based on findings from these studies and on the importance of query formulation support in a domain where terminology can be a barrier and translations to other languages are not always obvious, I explored the impact of query translations in users with different characteristics, namely English proficiency, health literacy and topic familiarity.

Based on previous results, I developed a query suggestion system that, using domain information gathered from an existing consumer health vocabulary, identifies the medical concepts included in the query and returns four types of suggestions combining the Portuguese or English languages with the lay or medico-scientific terminologies. I concluded that a retrieval system including the implemented suggestion strategy without any kind of personalization tends to be better than a system without suggestions with respect to precision, correctness of the resulting knowledge and also of its incorrectness. Moreover, I also found that the personalization of this system to users' English proficiency and health literacy, biasing users towards the suggestions more beneficial to them, outperforms the system without personalization, in terms of medical accuracy of the obtained knowledge.

The PhD was done in the Informatics Engineering Doctoral Program and resulted in a dissertation entitled "Context-Based Health Information Retrieval". The research was done at the Faculty of Engineering of University of Porto and was supervised by Professor Cristina Ribeiro.

I defended my PhD thesis on July 19, 2013 being approved with distinction. The jury was composed by Professor Eugénio da Costa Oliveira, Faculty of Engineering - University of Porto, Professor Ian Ruthven, University of Strathclyde - United Kingdom, Professor Paulo Sousa Gomes, Faculty of Sciences and Technology - University of Coimbra, Professor Pável Pereira Calado, Instituto Superior Técnico - Technical University of Lisbon, Professor Altamiro da Costa Pereira, Faculty of Medicine - University of Porto, Professor Gabriel David, Faculty of Engineering - University of Porto and Professor Cristina Ribeiro, Faculty of Engineering - University of Porto.

MSc Thesis

My MSc thesis was dedicated to the study of Web Information Systems Usage Monitorization through the use of data webhouses, a technique where clickstreams and other contextual data are stored in a data warehouse to understand user behavior. This monitorization method was used to study user's behavior in SIGARRA - the Web IS used by the majority of the institutions that belong to the University of Porto. My supervisor was Professor Gabriel David.

General Research Interests

MSc Students

BSc Students

Scholarships supervising

Activities