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Title:Exploring influences of the social context of task on information seeking behavior
Author(s):Rha, Eun Youp; Belkin, Nicholas
Subject(s):Information seeking behavior
Social context of task
Cognitive sociology
Abstract:Task has been known as a fundamental concept that helps understand information seeking behavior, as it triggers people’s information seeking activity. A number of studies highlight relationships between task and information seeking, examining how task types and qualities of task performers influence information seeking and searching behavior. However, little is known about effects of the social context of task on information seeking behavior. Therefore, this study explores social aspects of task-based information seeking behavior, particularly how individuals’ cognition and behavior are influenced by their social background when they engage in tasks. The main theoretical framework of the study is cognitive sociology that recognizes individuals’ socio-mental acts shaped within their thought communities throughout their socialization. The study design is a qualitative case study using a cross-context comparative approach. Two disciplines in academia, humanities and natural sciences, were selected as the types of thought communities to be compared. The research subjects were 6 humanities scholars and 6 natural scientists working at the same university, all tenured. They participated in either an individual in-depth interview (up to 2 hours) or a diary study (one month) that inquired of their thoughts and actions related to a particular task. The analysis is conducted according to three research questions: differences of individuals’ understanding of a task (RQ1), identification of information problems (RQ2), and choice of action for information seeking and use (RQ3). This study will contribute to theoretical and empirical understandings of social aspects of task-based information seeking behavior.
Issue Date:2019-09-24
Series/Report:Information seeking
Information needs
Sociology of information
Genre:Conference Poster
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-08-23

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