Course Description: Introduction to the user-centered approach to information behavior. Theoretical foundations of various information behaviors such as information need, utilizing, gathering, seeking, and evaluating. Synthesis of user studies, construction of user profiles, performance of gap analysis, and application of the results of user studies to improve services and system design.
Social IB Model for Goal-Directed Work Teams
The paper uses theoretical work by Chatman, Leckie & Pettigrew, and especially Savolainen to analyze social motivations for and restrictions on information seeking within the boundaries of a goal-directed work team. It posits team self-censorship at this boundary, driven by interactions between Savolainen’s defensive-affective and pessimistic-cognitive IB styles. Click the model diagram to view a larger version in a new tab. The conclusion states:
The paper demonstrates a capacity for high-level conceptual analysis, deconstructing and comparing related theories, then synthesizing a new model relevant to a particular environment. It later became the focus of a group project in LIS 570 Research Methods, when two fellow students joined me to develop a research design to test the theoretical predictions implied in the paper.
Analysis based on Savolainen supports redefining Leckie and Pettigrew’s awareness as an encompassing filter bounding a limited Team Way of Life. Rather than the open feedback loops illustrated by Leckie and Pettigrew, this boundary selectively admits preapproved inputs from accepted and usual sources to which the team Mastery of Life has already accommodated. It permits outputs of standard, team-accepted reports, along with the work product. The boundary selectively turns back team requests for information that might pose cognitive challenges to established practice, and it blocks or diverts external flows that might interfere with the goal-directed Mastery of Life. It may admit some new inputs as feedback, but only after narrowing their scope and recoloring to conform with the Mastery of Life. In this way, the work team environment becomes a selective version of Chatman’s life in the round, bounded by expected sources and accepted areas of uncertainty about what might lie outside the boundaries of the team’s entrenched Way of Life.
Information Behavior of Journalists
Three fellow students and I chose to document behaviors of journalists around information, their stock in trade, for a group project during LIS 510. We developed a presentation covering a literature review of published reports on the topic and reporting on our own investigation among a group of practicing journalists, culminating in our development of a theoretical model based on Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process to explain the behavior that we had documented
The presentation demonstrates abilities for reviewing foundational literature, observing and gathering data on actual phenomena, and developing theoretical explanations, or applying and adapting existing ones, to place those observations in context of existing information science. It also demonstrates ability to put online information sharing tools to use in coordinating input from four people spread far afield, from Tennessee to Denver to Portland and Seattle. My contributions include developing and hosting the summary web page for the project.