Operationalising the concept of “information” for research into information behaviour

Andrew K. Shenton (Former Lecturer, Division of Information and Communication Studies, School of Informatics, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

Aslib Proceedings

ISSN: 0001-253X

Publication date: 1 December 2004


To clarify the subject of a project and indicate its limits, investigators must define for readers their work's key concepts. In most information behaviour research, definition of “information” itself is critical, although it may be difficult to do this immediately, as the researcher may be initially unsure of the nature of the phenomenon of interest. A definition may be evolved retrospectively and informed by data collected. In assembling a definition, the investigator may consider whether to draw a distinction between “knowledge” and “information”, whether information is believed to be of the purely “objective” kind and the purposes for which information is required. A decision also needs to be made on whether the researcher's construct of “information” should be imposed on study participants. Whatever the approaches taken, the definition must be at least partially grounded in widely held assumptions and not inspired solely by the need to control the work's scope.



Shenton, A. (2004), "Operationalising the concept of “information” for research into information behaviour", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 56 No. 6, pp. 367-372. https://doi.org/10.1108/00012530410570408

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