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Defining a theoretical framework for information seeking and parenting: Concepts and themes from a study with mothers supportive of attachment parenting

Michela Montesi (Facultad de Ciencias de la Documentación, Madrid, Spain)
Belén Álvarez Bornstein (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 13 March 2017




Information seeking for child-rearing is an increasingly popular topic in the medical and social science literature, though a theoretical framework in which to understand this phenomenon is still missing. The paper aims to discuss this issue.


The authors present results from a qualitative research in which data were obtained from 21 interviews and the personal experience of one of the authors. Participants were all mothers supportive of attachment parenting, a parenting style inspired by attachment theory which advocates making parenting decisions on a strong basis of information. They were recruited in several Spanish autonomous communities and interviewed between April and July 2015.


Results were analyzed using grounded theory and allowed to define five major themes: becoming a mother implies a new perception of oneself in which it is common to feel more in need for information; the need to search for information originates in situations of “conflict” or crisis, or as a consequence of conflicting information; information is judged and weighed on the basis of affect and perceptions; scientific and experiential knowledge are valued as complementary; and finally, information seeking appears as one activity of identity work.


Placing conflict, instead of uncertainty, at the beginning of the search process allows to emphasize the role of information seeking in mediating relationships and interactions at a societal level. From this point of view, the authors understand that LIS should pay more attention to information seeking as an important factor in social change.



The authors would like to thank all participants in this study for the time and precious information they gave to the authors. The authors would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and contribution to the improvement of this paper.


Montesi, M. and Álvarez Bornstein, B. (2017), "Defining a theoretical framework for information seeking and parenting: Concepts and themes from a study with mothers supportive of attachment parenting", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 73 No. 2, pp. 186-209.



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