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An observational study of the information seeking behaviour of Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom

Robert Orton (School of Information and Media, The Robert Gordon University, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen, AB10 7QE)
Rita Marcella (School of Information and Media, The Robert Gordon University, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen, AB10 7QE)
Graeme Baxter (School of Information and Media, The Robert Gordon University, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen, AB10 7QE)

Aslib Proceedings

ISSN: 0001-253X

Article publication date: 1 August 2000

Abstract

This paper describes the results of an observational study of the information seeking behaviour of Members of Parliament. It is argued that political life functions on a flow of information and that information itself is a prime resource. The study sought to determine the characteristics that impact upon the manner in which information is sourced and used by parliamentarians. For this project a shadowing methodology was adopted. The conclusions drawn include that UK Members of Parliament are subject to a range of triggers of information seeking, in an information rich environment where the amount of information presents decision makers with difficulties. Public accountability results in demands from a wide variety of individuals, groups and associations. MPs are also expected to be knowledgeable about a wide variety of issues, while information need is frequently unpredictable and reactive. Members must be efficient information gatherers and managers and they must be flexible in their attitudes to information seeking, while retaining the capacity to critically appraise the quality of sources.

Keywords

Citation

Orton, R., Marcella, R. and Baxter, G. (2000), "An observational study of the information seeking behaviour of Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 52 No. 6, pp. 207-217. https://doi.org/10.1108/EUM0000000007015

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

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