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Information Behavior

revised Info. Behavior presentations

Sung Jae Park

on 19 November 2012

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Transcript of Information Behavior

Information Behavior Research
Process Concepts Models Analyzing your information behavior information
information needs
information seeking
information behavior About models Resembles conventional flow-chart
Suggests sequences of actions
Shares the goal of describing and explaining the actions of the individuals, who are looking for information Model focused on the specific problems in comparison to the theories
-> develops into a formal theory

Limited model example: how research subjects typically navigate through a series of Web pages
-> Eventually develops into a theory of electronic information seeking

Another limited model example: depiction of signal transmission by Claude Shannon (developed into explicit theory of information content of messages) Models are often defined in relation to theories

Models referred to as minitheories (Simon and Burstein)

Theory is a set of related statements that explain, describe, or predict phenomena in a given context

Models and theories are all simplified version of the real world. Models use diagram to depict the contents.

Models shows whether the hypothesis reflect the real world (Reynolds)

Models represent the relationships among concepts. Models reflect the real world more than the theories. The models are valid after the change only if the changed parts are valid in comparison to the real world (Cappella) Models vs. Theories Models vs. Theories Scenario: Finding information in a library Needs Information seeking Information use information on the role of US president, William McKinley 1. searched the electronic card catalog for books
2. browsed shelves
3. consulted with a reference librarian
4. browsed shelves and reformulated search terms
5. browsed shelves
6. End of information seeking information user Leslie Need information on the role of US president, William McKinley Success Failure Demands on Information Systems Demands on other information sources Electronic card catalog
reference service
bibliography Bibliography vs. Catalog Directions for Group Activity The predominant way to represent what is known about an information experience is a model. The objective of this assignment is to analyze one such model. A list of articles that feature models of information behavior was posted on the class Wiki; select an article from the list and carefully read it, if you want.

Then, answer the questions below. Be prepared to discuss your discoveries and insights during class.

Which of the models depicted in this chapter makes the most sense to you? (If no name is provided, invent one)
Which factors are most influential in your choice: The level to detail? The particular words chosen to describe the process? The emphasis (e.g., written information, or everyday life information)?
What population, scenario and/or context does it represent?
How was this model developed?
What are the central elements represented in the model? Describe each.
Critique the model: What are its shortcomings, limitations or assumptions? Directions for Paper Select and describe an information behavior from your life.
Discuss what this behavior demonstrates about your information needs, how and where you look for and use information, and the information problems you face in your life. Your discussion should make clear that you have thought about and understand the concepts of information, information needs, information seeking, and information behavior as discussed in class.
Select a model, paradigm, or theory we have read about and/or discussed in class and analyze your information behavior using the model, paradigm, or theory to interpret your behavior.
Discuss how useful the model, paradigm, or theory was for explaining your information behavior?
Critique the model: What are its shortcomings, limitations or assumptions?

Length, approximately 1000 words. Which of the models depicted in this chapter makes the most sense to you? (If no name is provided, invent one)
Which factors are most influential in your choice: The level to detail? The particular words chosen to describe the process? The emphasis (e.g., written information, or everyday life information)?
What population, scenario and/or context does it represent?
How was this model developed?
What are the central elements represented in the model? Describe each.
Critique the model: What are its shortcomings, limitations or assumptions?

What are the similarities and differences you discuss in two models (at least) on which you are discussing
Is it possible the two models could be merged to explain your information behavior? If so, how can it be done? What you have already prepared What you will discuss in your group Perspectives Dervin (1997)
Uses the terms such as“ perspectives” and “methodologies”
Theory is rarely used but emphasizes schools of thought or methodologies
Theories are borrowed from other disciples
There were little diversity in social scientific and humanistic investigation on human behavior and cognition before 50 years
North American Psychology: in the grips of behaviorist paradigm of research
Human sciences: had a fairly restricted range of theories and methods that were widely accepted by research cohorts Now we have diverse array of assumptions, approaches, theories, and methods to choose from
However, there is no consensus on which perspective or activity is the most suitable to study the human behavior
There are many problem related to the importance, goal, morale, and meaning of the research

e.g.,) Various views about the human study
Human (or observable behavior) is our research target
It can be more objective to study the artifacts of the human behavior
There is no objectivity. The best thing that we can do is to collect ‘contextualized’ narratives or the discourse in the domain of our interest Perspectives Hierarchy of theoretical terms Grand Theory Middle-Range Theory Grounded Theory Obervation Paradigm Paradigm became a popularized term by Thomas Kuhn
He claimed that there are 21 ways to use the term ‘paradigm,’ but
The terms became popular as a way of describing the various points of views that researchers take in their search for explanations Paradigm is an essential concept, which is used, to describe research on information behavior
It is difficult to talk about competing theories or schools of thoughts in the Information seeking behavior related research as it is too diverse
Paradigm highlights the connection between the research and the purposes and beliefs of the investigators
Example: “critical” vs. “administrative” research traditions
the ones based on two different traditions might use similar methodologies but will use different theories and operate under different paradigms When talking about research strategy, “perspectives”, “traditions”, and “analytics” will be used instead of paradigm
Some researchers will use the term, ‘approach’ when describing the assumptions and methodologies of the research
Case considers traditions, perspectives, and paradigm have the same meaning
Model and theories belong to paradigms Opinions from scholars Robert Merton (1968)
social scientists do not always share the same definition for theory, much less the same goals regarding the kinds of theory to construct
Skinner (1985)
return of grand theory in the work of still-living scholars such as Habermas and Giddens, who refuse to restrict theory to limited questions, methods and evidences
Describes how successful social theories addressed major problems and also overturned previous assumptions about the topic Merton (1968)
Argued that we should concentrate on the development of limited ‘middle-range’ theories
Such theories function at a higher level than a testable hypothesis but deal with limited settings remain close to the level of observable phenomena, and offer the potential for aggregating findings
Reference group theory (an example of middle range theory): individuals judge themselves by referring to the standards of significant people in their lives rather than to some absolute criteria that apply to all humans Glaser and Strauss (1967)
Middle range theory is constructed by ‘grounding’ it in observation
Building a theory by relying more on observed data than an abstract ideas
Grounded theory approach moves back and forth from data gathering to deduction
Kuhlthau’s search process model (1993)
Developed through close observation of the ways that information seekers construct knowledge by trying it to what they already know as they pass through various stages of uncertainty and understanding Sources of Theory in Information Seeking Krikelas (1983)
stated that there is no single theory of information seeking that would make possible easy comparisons among studies

Chatman (1996)
We have no central theory or body of interrelated theories we can view as middle range … it would appear we are currently focusing on the application of conceptual framework rather than on the generation of specific theories

Zweizig (1977)
Theories applied in information seeking studies tended to come from sociology, mass communication, and psychology

Chatman’s research invokes
(1) sociological grand theory of the division of labor(Durkheim)
(2) diffusion of information theory(Roger)
(3) gratification theory(Katz & Foulkes)

Theories from information seeking researches (Chatman)
Theory of information poverty (1992)
Theory of life in the round (1999) The word ‘information’ appeared in one of Chaucer’s tales, which was published between 1372 and 1386

Definitions of ‘information’
Any difference that makes a difference to conscious, human mind (Bateson 1972); Information is whatever appears significant to a human being, whether originating from an external environment or a (psycho-logically) internal world. Bateson considered ‘perceived difference’ to be a basic ‘unit of mind’ that can be inferred through study of both humans and animals
Any stimuli we recognize in our environment (Miller 1968)
Recognition of patterns in the world around us (Dervin 1976, …) Oxford English Dictionary The action of informing. The action of telling or fact of being told of something.
That of which one is apprised or told; intelligence, news.

-> the terms can may be used to indicate either a process (informing) or a kind of message (news) Information used to refer Sensory stimuli
Mental representation
Problem solving
Decision making
Aspect of human thinking and learning
States of mind
Process of communication
Judgment about the relevance of information to information needs
Content of subject specialties
Recorded knowledge
Particular objects that carry information such as documents Typologies of Information Concepts Objective, external information is that which describes reality (but never completely so)
Subjective, internal information represents our pictures or cognitive map of reality, the structures we impute onto reality
Sense-making information reflects the procedures and behaviors that allow us to ‘move’ between external and internal information to understand the world, and usually to act on that understanding as well Ruben (1992) Environmental artifacts and representation; environmental data, stimuli, messages, or cues
Environmental sense of information consists of ‘stimuli, messages, or cues’
Internalized, individualized appropriations and representations
Information as something that is ‘transformed and configured for use by a living system
Internal representations that include ‘semantic networks, personal constructs, images, rules or mind’
Socially constructed, negotiated, validated, sanctioned and/or privileged appropriations, representations, and artifacts
Social context of information Dervin (1976, 1977) Buckland (1991) Information as process
Act of informing, the communication of information, and how a person’s state of knowledge is changed
Important to investigate

Information as knowledge
Knowledge communicated

Information as thing
Objects, such as data and documents … are referred to as ‘information’ because they are regarded as being informative McCreadi and Rice (1999) Resource of commodity
Information is something that can be produced, purchased, replicated, distributed, sold, manipulated, passed along, controlled (e.g., message that travels from sender to receiver with or without some kind of payment in exchange)
Data in the environment
Objects, artifacts, sounds, smells, events that may be perceived in the environment
Takes into account the potential for unintentional communication of information (e.g., when one observes and interprets natural phenomena)
Representation of knowledge
Expressed in documents, books, periodicals
Part of the communication process
Meaning that are created as people go about their lives and try to make sense of their world Issues in Defining Information Utility
Truth Group Discussion 1st Question will be discussed by Immigrants Group.
2nd Question will be discussed by Seniors, Adults, and Children Groups.
3rd Question will be discussed by Scientists and Engineers Group.
Social Scientists Group will discuss issus of reliability and sorting on information associated with examples of news
OMG will discuss impacts of IT devices on information behavior.
Artists Group will discuss the tranformation of the information power as time goes by. Credibility 46.1% of respondents paid more attention to the superficial of a website such as layout, font size, or color schemes. Stanford Persuasive Lab Credibility criteria??? What is a "Need"? ‘Inner motivational state’ that brings about thought and action (Grunig, 1989)
Other ‘inner state’ may include wanting, believing, doubting, fearing, or expecting (Lievnau & Backhouse, 1990; Searle, 1983) Four general conclusions about the concept of needs 1. Need is always instrumental – it involves reaching a desired goal (If I need to know X then I desire to accomplish something with the information X)

2. Needs are usually contestable
needs differ from wants – i.e. if I say that I want to know the X then no one can argue about this but if I say that I need to know Y then one can say that I might not need to know Y

3. Needs related to the concept of necessity
Basic human needs: health, autonomy, learning, production, reproduction, communication, political authority (Doyal & Gough, 1984)
Distinctions between primary and secondary needs where primary are food & shelter while secondary includes information needs
Some psychologists (Cacioppo & Petty, 1982) regarded ‘the need for cognition’ as the basic need

4. Needs are not necessarily a state of mind and it is possible to be unaware of one’s true needs
E.g., one might want to scan every X related journal in the library to find information about Y but an experienced librarian might judge that what he/she really needs to do is to search Z on the Internet Reference Desk Reducing Uncertainty 1. Information as uncertainty reduction

2. Atkin (1973): information need as a function of extrinsic uncertainty produced by a perceived discrepancy between the individual’s current level of certainty about important environmental objects and a criterion state that he seeks to achieve
Environmental objects: people, things, events, or ideas that process psychological importance for the individual
People constantly compare current level of knowledge against goal states that they wish to reach (i.e. perfect knowledge) and react by seeking information whenever they sense uncertainty Making Sense Dervin, et al (2003)’s ‘sensemaking’
Applies to everyday life information seeking
Tends to emphasize ‘feelings’ rather than ‘cognitions’ in situations where humans reached out for something they called information
We have a need to ‘make sense’ of the world
‘information need’ defined as a compulsion to make sense of a current situation
People are engaged in search for meaning Spectrum of Motivations Objective Subjective Objective View information as reflecting an objective reality
Information seeking as driven primarily by a rational judgment that some uncertainty exists that would be resolved by specific information
Emotional motivations of the search process, such as anxiety, tend to be set aside
Example: well-defined need to retrieve a specific fact to make a decision or solve a problem -> information needs are thought to be relatively fixed Subjective Idealized view that many searches for information are prompted by a vague feeling of unease
A sense of having a gap in knowledge, or simply by anxiety about a current situation
Emphasizes that humans are often driven to ‘make sense’ of an entire situation, not merely its component ‘data’, and that rational goals are often overstated -> information needs are highly dynamic Information seeking and Information Behavior Wilson (1999): information seeking is the purposive seeking for information as consequence of a need to satisfy some goal
Zerbinos (1990): information seeking takes place when a person has knowledge stored in long-term memory that precipitates and interest in related information as well as the motivation to acquire it. It can also take place when a person recognizes a gap in their knowledge that may motivate that person to acquire new information
Marchionini (1995): a process in which humans purposefully engage in order to change their state of knowledge and which is closely related to learning and problem solving
Johnson (1997): information seeking can be defined as the purposive acquisition of information from selected information carriers Information Behavior Information Seeking Broader term than information seeking yet also includes behaviors that are passive
The totality of human behavior in relation to sources and channels of information including both active and passive information seeking, and information use (Wilson, 1999) A variety of behaviors seemingly motivated by the recognition of missing information
Defined strictly in terms of active and intentional behavior Taylor's typology of information needs Viscerial needs --> Conscious needs --> Formalized needs --> Compromised needs Needs, Wants, and Demands Imposed Query Model Group Discussion CH. 4 1st Question: Super Seniors and Curators
2nd Question: Children, Adults, Women, OMG, and IMMI
3rd Question: Scientists and Engineers
what have you learned from this group activity and how to apply them into information behavior studies?
Relation between Definition of Information and Information Needs: Social Scientists What to do between now and 10/17 Choose one among five categories including wealth, gender, age, ethnicity, and geography.
Post your choice in the wiki; each category will have only 10 students. First come, first serve.
Prepare your response to Q#2 for Ch. 5, Case, p. 343.
Post your response to the wiki by Sunday, then read the posts of other students.
We’ll discuss these during the class next week. “we seek knowledge in order to reduce anxiety and we can also avoid knowing in order to reduce anxiety” (Maslow) Decision making Problem solving Browsing Scanning Serendipity Relevance Salience Selective exposure Information avoidance Knoweldge gap Information proverty Information overload Information anxiety Entertainment Much of information seeking research is intertwined with decision making (Donohew & Tipton 1973)
The work of managers, of scientists, of engineers, of lawyers – the work that steers the course of society and its economic and governmental organizations – is largely work of making decisions and solving problems (Simon 1992) Decisions
Choices made from among alternatives
At least two options are available
Decision-maker may select only one of them
Decision-maker must gather the information that allows each potential choice to be evaluated and compared to the alternative(s)

When an experimental subject identifies the presence or absence of an attribute (e.g., a tone) in a stimulus (e.g., a sound) Problem solving has to do with identifying issues worthy of attention, setting goals, and designing suitable course of action
Decision making is the activity of evaluating and choosing among alternative actions to take in response to a problem
Problem solving and decision making form a sequence that begins with focusing on a problem and ends with selecting from among various choices

Key components of decision making
the search for alternatives (search processes)
the choice of which to pay attention to (attention management) Two views
Information seeking is always motivated by a need to solve a problem
Information seeking is NOT always motivated by the need to ‘solve problems’ or ‘make a decision’ – it is a desire simply to have more or less of some quality; more information, stimulation, or assurance, or less uncertainty, boredom, overload, or anxiety Information does not always result in either a decision or the reduction of uncertainty Browsing
Informal and unplanned search behavior
Refers to the way that animal feed upon the young shoots of trees and shrubs (French etymology)
To look over casually (as a book) … To skim through a book reading at random passages … To look over books (as in a store or library) … based on Webster Dictionary
Refers to a wide range of information behaviors, ranging from aimless scanning to goal-directed searching
Browsing is more closely ‘connected to satisfying human curiosity than to resolving a predetermined gap or need (Toms, 1990)

Special case of browsing: accidental discovery of information
People find valuable information on subject B when searching for subject A (Boyce, Meadow, & Kraft 1994) Environmental scanning Navigation Information discovery Grazing Zapping Foraging Relevance
Technical measure of document retrieval
Interpretive connection that is made between the observed pattern and the context of the observation (Ritchie 1991)
Key aspect of efficiency in human information processing (Sperber & Wilson) Relevance in Information Retrieval
Relevance measures are based on the relationship between an information request and the content of a collection of document records or more usually document surrogates (author, title, keywords)

New definition of relevance
Based on the knowledge state and intentions of the user rather than a logical match of terminology by the information system
Subjective view: Situational relevance, Pertinence, Psychological relevance Objective and situational relevance
Relevance is the property that assigns an answer to a question
Pertinence is the property that assigns an answer to an information need

Subjective view of relevance
Importance of the user’s knowledge state and intention at the time of encountering information
Pertinence (situational relevance) is determined by context and guides selective attention to the information Salient items of information are more easily recalled later because they are coded more effectively in memory
A salient stimulus is not necessarily relevant to one’s current information needs
Salience and beliefs as a part of ‘personal relevance factors’ that are antecedent to any information seeking activity (Johnson 1997) Humans tend to seek information that is congruent with their prior knowledge, beliefs, and opinions, and to avoid exposure to information that conflicts with those internal states (Hyman & Sheatsley 1947)
High level of interest regarding a certain topic will tend to increase exposure – interested people are motivated to acquire more information about a topic that fascinates them To the extent that selection (and sometimes avoidance) of entertainment seems to be motivated by both affective and utilitarian concerns that is, seeking both emotional gratification and the means to reach some goal (Atkin 1985)
Filtering behavior (Wilson 1995)
Most of the time, information is not avoided but rather simply not used Knowledge gap
Gap, which is an individual’s encounter with a discrepancy or lack of ‘sense’ in their environment, become differential and persistent (Chatman & Pendleton 1995)
Exists when one human group persistently differs from another human group in what they know

Informationally rich get richer, the poor get poorer (Dervin 1989)
Literacy: an example of poor get poorer
If one never learns to read, the potential for learning is greatly diminished and others who can read will more steadily increase the amount of knowledge they possess

Inequalities are increasing especially in public affairs and health knowledge (Gaziano 1997)
Information sources are often linked to socioeconomic status When some segment of a population seems to be permanently ignorant

Culture marked by three characteristics (Childers & Post 1975)
A low level of processing skills, marked by reading, language, hearing, or eyesight deficiencies
Social isolation in a subculture, leading to unawareness of information known to a larger public, reliance upon rumor, and folklore, and dependence on entertainment-oriented media like television
A tendency to feel fatalistic and helpless, which in turn reduces the likelihood of active information seeking Information overload
State of an individual or system in which excessive communication inputs cannot be processed, leading to breakdown (Rogers 1986)
Sociology & political science view: systemic (global) sense, in which such a flood of messages proliferate in the urban environment that many are ignored (Deutsch 1963)
Psychiatrist view: some aspects of schizophrenia (Miller 1960, 1978)
Management view: brains have difficulty processing all the relevant information – there is too much, it may not fit with expectations and previous patterns, and some of it may simply be too threatening to accept (Mintzberg 1975)
Excessive or irrelevant volume or in terms of an inability to manage or understand information (Fahoomand & Drury 2002) Entertainment
Any activity designed to delight – no culture of which we have an adequate accounting has been entirely without it (Zillman & Bryant 1986)
Infotainment – fact and fiction, news and dramatic programming, influence one another (Safire 1981)

Although information and entertainment may be conceptually distinct, from a practical point of view they are hopelessly entangled. One would be hard pressed to name a vehicle for delivering information that is not also used for delivering entertainment (Cermak 1996) Public libraries provide fiction because that is what their clients want, despite some ambivalence about devoting scarce resources to nonfactual materials (Rubin 2004)
Edutainment: an example of mixing of information and entertainment are media forms that deliberately do so to capture audience attention
Infomercial: tries to (or at least pretends) to teach us something while selling us a related products or service
Most authoritative source is not what many people prefer when seeking information; may they would rather have the most entertaining one
When hard facts are presented in an entertaining manner, we have the best of both worlds Paper 1 Draft Due: 10/19 Select and describe an information behavior from your life.
Discuss what this behavior demonstrates about your information needs, how and where you look for and use information, and the information problems you face in your life. Your discussion should make clear that you have thought about and understand the concepts of information, information needs, information seeking, and information behavior as discussed in class.
Select a model, paradigm, or theory we have read about and/or discussed in class and analyze your information behavior using the model, paradigm, or theory to interpret your behavior.
Discuss how useful the model, paradigm, or theory was for explaining your information behavior?
Critique the model: What are its shortcomings, limitations or assumptions? Paradigms and theories are intertwined with one another and with the research methods chosen by the investigator

Theories tend to indicate what methods are available
The overlap occurs because both theory and method must be concerned with our type of explanation and our approach to inquiry Where theory and methodology do not overlap
Methodology is not concerned with substantive assumptions about what is being studied
Theory addresses the basic assumptions that we make about the nature of reality (e.g., can we be ever objective in our observations of other people)
Methodology (not theory) cares about the techniques of observation

Our choice of design and method have profound implications for what we can know about the phenomena we observe Why We Need Methods Methodology concerns how we can find out
Methods: the specific ways, tools, and techniques of observation and measurements
Method is one’s point of contact with the world (McPhee 1994)
Need to have methods to control for human error, which is always present when we are thinking and making observations about reality Why We Need Methods Common sources of human error
People are by nature poor observers: errors of omission & admission
People tend to overgeneralize from small sample of evidence or opinion
We tend to notice those things that support our beliefs and ignore evidence that does not: selective perception
We sometimes make up information to support our beliefs, no matter how illogical it might appear to another person
Our ego is often involved in what we know and profess to be true
Prejudice: we may simply close out minds to any new evidence about an issue
People are prone to mystify anything they do not understand Why We Need Methods By agreeing to guidelines for identifying research problems and gathering and interpreting evidence, we establish communities of discourse regarding topic of investigation
Methodology is to provide a basis of agreement for debating and assessing knowledge claims in given areas

Research methods are conscious attempts to overcome some human failings, while promoting dialogue among researchers

Methods are about how best to explore reality through structured, personal experience (i.e. inquiry)

Methods offer us a choice of plans for asking questions and finding answers to them Methods refer to two types of technique
Measurement: observation & data collection

One first measures something, and then one analyzes those measurements
So, the choices of techniques are intertwined
Some methods of measurements require certain kind of analysis Techniques of Measurements and Analysis Imagining a research question Investigation is conceptualized
A theory may come into play, as well as personal motivation Study Design Determination of data to be sought (Blumer 1986)
Some kind of phenomena and/or venue is selected for observation
A plan is derived for what goal is to be achieved in the study and how to go about it
A theory may dictate the goal of the research project and what kinds of design and data are necessary to achieve it
Key consideration: the resources available in terms of time and personnel Research Method Choose methods and specific procedures for observation, and to carry them out
Multiple sources of evidence contribute to more compelling conclusions and are thus to be preferred Data Analysis Once evidence is gathered, it is analyzed and interpreted
Classification is the key to many analysis
How many instances of that type versus this type were observed
In survey and experimental research, for example, the measurement and analysis may be primarily quantitative, yet most data gathering involves some degree of interpretation and classification Results Summarize and consider findings
This step leads to a reconceptualization of the research
Whether it worked, contributed to theory, was worth the effort, or could be improved upon Stage of
Research Induction Deduction Validity Reliability Ethics vs. vs. Purpose Units Time Taking an inductive approach means that the research will examine particular instances and reason toward generalization
Ground theory is a research goal that attempts to build theory from concrete observations and to keep any generalization relatively close to the contexts in which they originated, rather than attempting to build an abstract theory that strives to apply in all situations
Most qualitative methods tend to be inductive in nature

The deductive approach reasons from the general to the particular
Typically the way science is portrayed – applying a theory to a particular case in an attempt to test the theory
The number of formal tests of the theory are relatively sparse when it comes to studying information seeking – much of the research has been merely descriptive of a unique situation, or an inductive attempt to generalize about certain type of persons, sources, or effects Many investigators or studies tend to move back and forth between induction and deduction
Collecting information that allows them to state a principle or tendency, then testing that generalization through further research
Deductive approach can be useful in exploratory stages of research (Glaser & Strauss 1967) Research problem
For those researchers who are testing theory, it is common to state a research problem
A question that asks about the relationship between two or more variables
Ex: What effect does an increase in the number of available information sources have upon the use of an individual source?
Express relations between variables and suggest ways in which might be tested empirically

For research problems that test a preexisting theory, hypotheses are derived
Conjecture statement about the relation between two or more variables Operationalization
Early in the research process, the object(s) of observation must be identified and defined for measurement
After explicating a concept of interest, we must lay out the procedures or operations we will use to measure that concept
We must specify the conditions under which an instance of the concept might be produced and observed

Operational definition
Guides our observation of the phenomena
We discover ways to classify or quantify the things we observe
Attributes or people or their behavior are grouped together in logical sets called variables
We develop a strategy for observing those variables in a particular context Validity and reliability determines how compelling the results of our study will be, and so are important considerations in the choice of methods and construction of measures

The extend that the measurement procedures accurately reflect the concept we are studying

Demonstrated when measures are repeated under the same conditions and yield highly similar measurements each time
Trade-off between the depth and breadth of the information we gather
Gathering data from a smaller number of respondents will lead to a lack of generality
Reporting on our own thoughts and behavior can be problematic, particularly due the unreliability of memories

Research designs that intend to produce highly quantitative and reliable measures, such as laboratory experiments, suffer from validity problems because they invoke an artificial situation that may not reflect how people think and behave in the real world

A qualitative approach such as participant observation, however it may be grounded in the real world, raises issues about the reliability of what is observed and measured, because the specific contexts and measurements are difficult to replicate

One way to conduct research that is both valid and reliable is to be found in the use of multiple methods and multiple sources of data Trade-off between validity and reliability The ideal type of investigation is that which offers an explanation for the phenomenon observed
An exploratory study attempts to answer ‘why’ questions about phenomena, particularly regarding the motives and actions of people
As studying and measuring human intentions is difficult, fewer investigations have attempted to offer explanations for information seeking behaviors When designing a study we must be clear about what is our primary unit 0f analysis
Studies of information seeking, by definition, involve humans; therefore, individual people are most commonly observed and analyzed in such investigations
There are also cases in which our main focus is on aggregates of individuals
Any kind of human artifacts such as books or TV programs, or social events may also be a unit of observation and analysis
The design of a study is partly determined by what kind of things we wish to discuss in our findings The time dimension of the investigation is especially important, particularly when we wish to reason about causes and effects
Time is also important because people and their environments change constantly
Methodology distinction: Cross-sectional approach and Longitudinal studies
Time dimension as a question of sampling: Is it enough to sample one person/time or Should we sample many people/times? Ethics reflect our beliefs about what is just and right behavior versus what we judge to be unjust and wrong

Standards of conduct
No harm should come to participants in a study
Study participants should not be deceived or misled in any way
Participants in any investigation should be voluntary
Any data collected about individuals should be confidential How can the interests of the range of different stakeholders be balanced? How can the interests of other stakeholders groups, who may not be directly involved in the research project, be protected? 
Is conducting research purely for the pursuit of knowledge ethically justifiable?
By what means can it be ensured that different groups are properly represented in research studies, and if not, that this is due to considered rationale rather than omission or accident?
What impact does rewarding of respondents have on response rates and the quality of the data collected? When is some form of reward justified to improve these?
What happens if publishing the findings could cause harm or distress to those researched or to other groups in society? Ethical Dilemma Research technique activity 1. Procedure
2. Assumptioms
3. Role of researcher
4. Sampling
5. Validity & Reliability
6. Strength & Weekness
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