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Profiling information behaviour of nursing students: part 2: derivation of profiles

Peter Stokes (Anglia Ruskin University, Peterborough, UK)
Christine Urquhart (Department of Information Studies, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, UK)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 12 January 2015




The purpose of this paper is to develop information behaviour profiles for nursing students, to help inform information literacy programmes.


The methods include further analysis of quantitative findings (previously reported in part 1), together with qualitative research data collection and analysis. Critical incident type interviews with 11 students were transcribed and analysed using an interpretative categorisation method that used dendrograms for data display and analysis. From the regression analysis of the quantitative data, the micro-processes for information seeking were linked to learning styles, and then to personality traits to generate information seeking profiles. Integration of the qualitative findings led to development of a task-based information search model.


The start list of seven categories for qualitative analysis (derived from a literature review) was refined (one category added, one removed, with some relabelling). The quantitative data analysis revealed seven profiles (deep adventurer, deep identifier, deep investigator, strategic all-rounder, strategic collector, surface co-ordinator, surface skimmer, each linked to a particular learning style, personality trait, and preferred information seeking micro-processes).

Research limitations/implications

The data were collected at only one university and the profiles and the model need to be validated with data from other groups of nursing students. The findings on micro-processes consolidate and extend previous research.

Practical implications

The profiles should inform information literacy programmes as they show that information search profiles may be more varied than assumed. The information search model extends previous task-based information search models.


The information search profiles have not been identified previously.



The paper presents the second phase of the findings of a doctoral research project. The primary author acknowledges the support of both the Arts and Humanities Research Council in providing funding for the part-time PhD studentship, and Anglia Ruskin University. The authors thank the participants in the research study for their contribution through completing questionnaires, taking part in interviews. The authors are also grateful to colleagues for discussions and comment that have contributed to this research, in particular Dr Allen Foster, Janet Turner, and Professor Brenda Dervin. Last but not least, the authors thank the referees for their constructive comments.


Stokes, P. and Urquhart, C. (2015), "Profiling information behaviour of nursing students: part 2: derivation of profiles", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 71 No. 1, pp. 52-79.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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