A method of incrementally refining queries and updating query result lists without requiring a user to provide an explicit indicator of query submission. In the method, one or more query related character patterns are defined. Entry of query defining characters by a user is monitored to detect entry of a defined query related character pattern. The user is provided with one or more suggested query refinement options and an updated query result list each time a defined query related character pattern is detected. The query related character patterns may be a character pattern that indicates a word has been input by the user.