Reflections

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On Information Behaviour

Every individual seeks information for different purposes which then influences the type of information need and approaches on how one can acquire it. Our information needs are determined in response to the purpose of why we are seeking it. For example, as a UTS student, I seek information which will make me adjust well to the Australian education system which is very different from what I am used to. Therefore, I seek for information which will help me cope with this situation or purpose in mind.

Our group presented our output through a Venn diagram, considering that we have diverse backgrounds, roles and identities but we have shared information behaviour as UTS students.

After working with a group, I begin to realize that though we are all UTS students, sharing some common sources of information such as the library, online systems, facilities, learning environment, H.E.L.P.S., and lectures/lecturers, we may have different uses for them. Being new in this university would make me utilize most of these information sources than my other group mates. Furthermore, our own roles, identities, and capabilities have a correlation with achieving our own information goals.

The rise of a particular need is influenced by the context, which can be the person himself or herself, the role the person plays in work and life, or the environments (social, political, economic, technological, etc.). The elements of the context intertwine; sometimes they condition each other, which was underlined in the earlier version of Wilson’s 1981 model (Niedźwiedzka, 2003). As I went through the activity, I began to process the components in Wilson’s 1996 Model of Information Behaviour which has influenced my own definition of it.

On the Verbalisation Exercise

The verbalisation exercise was an opportunity to immerse students on how the “talk-aloud” approach is used by cognitivist researchers like Todd and Belkin on mentalprocessing. Each one took turns in being a researcher as well as a participant. After completing the exercise, there were some issues and problems I have observed in using this approach which I explicitly shared with my group mates, to wit:

  • As a researcher: One must avoid assumptions and personal biases because it may hinder probing for more information (e.g. what may be interesting to the participant may not be interesting to you, therefore, instead of asking for more questions, you are limited to asking only what may be of interest to you even if there could be more relevant information to be elicited). Questions may be asked in a different context depending on the language used. It is imperative for the researcher to be mindful of choosing the most appropriate question to get the right answer.
  • As a participant: Answers are expressed in a manner depending on the context in which the question is interpreted. For example, when I was asked about my actions to be done upon noticing an itchy lump on my ankle when I wake up in the morning. The thoughts which initially came out from my head were basically grounded on my previous experience of having a lump and I did not bother expounding on my answer as the researcher did not care to probe some more. Nothing triggered my mind to think further.

Think-aloud is a research method in which participants speak aloud any words in their mind as they complete a task. A review of the literature has shown that think-aloud research methods have a sound theoretical basis and provide a valid source of data about participant thinking, especially during language-based activities. However, a researcher needs to design a process which takes into account a number of concerns, by selecting a suitable task, a role for the researcher, a source of triangulation, and, most importantly, an appropriate method of interpretation (Charters 2003).

The talk-aloud technique has its limitations in seeking information as I have observed through the activity. The success of this technique somehow depends on the competencies of the researcher in conducting an interview. For one to be able to conduct a seamless interview, it has to be like a conversation with open-ended questions where the participant will seem to be telling a story, however, it will take some practice on the part of the researcher (Olsson, PIK, Spring 2018).

References:

Britz, J., To Know or not to Know: A Moral Reflection on Information Poverty, Journal of Information Science, Vol. 30, 2004, pp. 192-204, viewed on 31, July 2018,http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0165551504044666.

Charters, E. The Use of Think-aloud Methods in Qualitative Research An Introduction to Think-aloud Methods, Brock Education, Vol. 12, 2003, pp. 1, viewed on 17 August 2018, https://journals.library.brocku.ca/brocked/index.php/home/article/view/38

Devadason, F. & Lingam P., A Methodology for the Identification of Information Needs of Users, IFLA Journal, Vol. 23, 1997, pp. 41-51, viewed on 31 July 201,http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0340037529702300109

Niedźwiedzka, B. (2003) “A proposed general model of information behaviour” InformationResearch, 9(1) p. 164, 17 August 2018 , http://InformationR.net/ir/9-1/paper164.html.

Talja, S. & Hartel, J., “Featuring the Future”, Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, Revisiting the user-centred turn in information science research: an intellectual history perspective, viewed on 2 August 2018,http://www.informationr.net/ir/12-4/colis04.html.

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