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Title:Reconsidering trial and error: A central information practice in everyday food life
Author(s):Polkinghorne, Sarah
Subject(s):Qualitative methods
Information practices
Everyday life
Trial and error
Abstract:This poster reports selected findings from an interpretivist qualitative study of the everyday food lives of people living in urban and rural Canada. This research sought to illuminate how people come to feel informed about food, how people navigate food information on ordinary and extraordinary days, and how people’s encounters with food information are embodied. Through constructivist grounded theory analysis of data resulting from interviews and video tours, this research identified areas of information practice held in common across a diverse group of participants. This poster focuses on one information practice, trial and error, which emerged as complex and generative. The terminology of “trial and error” originally referred to a form of learning that hinges on repetition, with learners trying again and again to solve problems correctly. In this research, participants’ trial and error processes were richer than this. Their processes were also more sophisticated than the portrayal of trial and error in information science scholarship, which tends to emphasize finite processes of overcoming failure, rather than open-ended processes of exploration and experimentation. Trial and error in people’s food lives is an iterative, embodied, information-generating cycle. The result of each effort—each seasoning-to-taste, recipe selection, or dietary adjustment—informs the next effort. By shedding light on trial and error, this poster advances information practices theory in the context of everyday life. It also questions dichotomies that position more widely valorized modes of information engagement, such as critical thinking, as unique in their sophistication.
Issue Date:2021-09-20
Series/Report:Information needs
Information seeking
Information use
Sociology of information
Genre:Conference Poster
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-09-17

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