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Information Seeking Behaviour

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by

Jordan Murphy

on 28 September 2015

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Transcript of Information Seeking Behaviour

Research into info seeking behaviour has focused on:

profession / work industry
role (i.e. Citizen, consumer, gatekeeper)
demographic (age, gender)
academic
student
Social Scientists
Tend to use a broader spectrum of information: books, archives and primary sources, institutional data, journals, academia, artifacts of pop culture.

Ellis (1989) establishes six stages of info seeking process: starting, chaining, browsing, differentiating monitoring, extracting.

Humanities Scholars
Humanities scholars seem less process driven in research but still Ellis identifies certain characteristics of research
In 1999 Chu outlined these stages: Idea generation, preperation, elaboration, analysis and writing, dissemination and “Further writing and dissemination”.
Foster argues that for humanities scholars the approach is much more holistic though he can roughly identify a beginning, middle and end component of research
Cole (1998) establishes that the humanities scholar’s information activity is much more “thinking” based than “seeking” - that this is a cognitive process.

Disciplines which have recieved the most attention: history! Less attention on art historians and women’s studies etc. (the more obscure topics like this, particularly womens’ studies were described as information poor so information seeking process is disjointed and obstructed)
Health care Providers
This sector has received much more research based attention of late due to higher demands on the healthcare sector (higher rates of obesity, heart disease, alcaholism) and also higher expectations and more people wanting generally better healthcare.
Scientists and engineers
Most commonly observed group.
Engineers work towards solving particular technical problems rather than general research
Studies vary between alluding 25%-50% of their time is spent seeking information
More recently information sources are selcted on the basis of relevance rather than past tendencies to choose a source for accessibility
Engineers use a mixture of professional journals and written lit but preference is with other colleagues and word of mouth. Choices are based on familiarity and comfort with individual rather than authority.
High reliance on personal files and knowledge and experience
Information Seeking Behaviour
Physicians

Gorman outlines five types of info sources: patient data, population statistics, medical knowledge (derived from journals, papers etc), logistical information (practices and procedures - getting the job done) and social influences (talking with colleagues, patterns of local practices etc)
Results from various studies are very diverse due to different definitions of “a question” or information “needs”. On a general level - info needs for physicians are answered by text books, drug tests and people
Osheroff (1991) propounds that 50% of the information needed can be answered by the patient’s own medical record with the remaining half split between a combination of medical texts and people (colleagues, etc).
Timpka and arborelius conclude that a physician is similar to a historian in info needs because much of the job is deconstructing narratives to get to the truth.

Nurses and Social Workers
Nurses have received less attention but generally deal with more localised info facing severe time and resource constraints.
Social workers are generally even more time poor

Managers
Most heterogenous group.
Studies have focused on accessibility, richness and quality of info managers encounter all of which are influenced by context, situation, personal/ cultural and informational. (Choo and auster).
CEOs see customers and tech trends as the most uncertain things - rely on both internal and external sources.
Auster & choo's findings contradicted the often cited studies of Allen which found that accessibility was favoured over quality of info.
Correia and Wilson (2002) concluded the more open an organisation is to it's environment, the more the employees will be exposed to relevant info.
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