To read this content please select one of the options below:

Informational balance: slow principles in the theory and practice of information behaviour

Liz Poirier (Centre for Information Science, City University London, London, UK)
Lyn Robinson (Centre for Information Science, City University London, London, UK)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 8 July 2014




The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether the principles of the Slow Movement may be applied to information behaviour.


The study uses three methods: a literature analysis and synthesis; a Delphi study; and a focus group. All are carried out in accordance with Slow principles, to assess the value of Slow in the conduct of the research itself.


Slow principles are applicable to both the theory and practice of information behaviour. They allow theory to be more realistic by encompassing a broader range of behaviours than those included in most established models of information behaviour and information literacy, particularly behaviours relating to temporal and experiential factors. The use of Slow principles in information practice may help to overcome problems relating to personal information management. The notion of “informational balance” stems from Slow ideas and is a useful concept for theory and practice.

Research limitations/implications

The empirical parts of the study use small groups of participants, and the emphasis of the focus group in particular was on everyday information, rather than on professional or academic information. The results of the study show that research and theory in information behaviour would benefit form more explicit attention to time factors.

Practical implications

The findings may be used in the design of information literacy instruction, and in encouraging a more reflective approach to personal information management.


This is the first study to examine the applicability of Slow principles in an information context. It is also original in explicitly applying Slow principles to the research design.



This research was supported by a postgraduate studentship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK).


Poirier, L. and Robinson, L. (2014), "Informational balance: slow principles in the theory and practice of information behaviour", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 70 No. 4, pp. 687-707.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles