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Information seeking behaviour of professionals: a qualitative study.

Zoontjes, Arie (2015) Information seeking behaviour of professionals: a qualitative study.

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Abstract:This study focuses on the information seeking behaviour of professionals. The purpose is to identify how the information provision to professionals can be improved by charting the information seeking behaviour of professionals. It looks at the information needs and motivators for the choice for sources and channels of (children’s rights) professionals. A literature study was conducted to get a global view of the information seeking behaviour of professionals. This literature study was followed by a (qualitative) case study whereby a total number of 29 semi-­‐structured interviews with children’s rights professionals and other professionals were used to describe the information seeking behaviour of (children’s rights) professionals. Based on the results of the interviews it can be concluded that in general, the information seeking process of (children’s rights) professionals starts with the subjective task that leads to an information need. This information need is also influenced by situational factors. The information need then leads to a choice of action: the choice for a certain channel/source. The interviewees mentioned a lot of different motivations for choice of action: subjective task, situational factors, personal factors, organizational factors, personal style of seeking, source characteristics and channel characteristics. Time, space, preference, accessibility and ease of use were identified as the biggest motivators for choice of action for professionals. Eventually, a general model of information seeking behaviour of professionals is developed, containing the different elements of the information seeking process and the motivations for information seeking behaviour. When looking at the statements from the children’s rights professionals it becomes clear that they prefer channels with clear language use and structure and easy to use search functions. Furthermore, they have a preference for personal contact and often consult their professional network to find information. Therefore it is recommended to KeKi to improve the information provisioning to (children’s rights) professionals by improving the ease of use of the online (academic) KeKi database, offer information in concise formats and create a network of (children’s rights) professionals. According to the interviewees the ease of use of the online database can be improved by allowing to sort search results by date. The presentation of the results can be improved by displaying the search results on top of the page. With regard to the information provisioning to professionals in general, it is proposed to support them in using channels they don’t use regularly to become familiar with them and to learn how to use them more quickly and efficient. It is suggested to test the developed model in this study through empirical research to demonstrate its value, and to provide further endorsement of the value of the models it is based on.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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