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Information activities in serious leisure as a catalyst for self-actualisation and social engagement

Yazdan Mansourian (School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 14 January 2021

Issue publication date: 24 June 2021




This paper reports findings from a research project about human information behaviour in the context of serious leisure. Various forms of information activities in this context have been identified and categorised to depict common patterns of information seeking, sharing, using and producing.


The project adopted a qualitative approach in an interpretive paradigm using a thematic analysis method. Data-collection technique was semi-structured interview and 20 volunteers were recruited via a maximum variation sampling strategy. The collected data was transcribed and thematically analysed to identify the main concepts and categories.


The participants have been experiencing six qualities of serious leisure during their long-term engagement with their hobbies or voluntary jobs and their experiences can be fully mapped onto the serious leisure perspective. The findings also confirmed serious leisure is a unique context in terms of the diversity of information activities embedded into a wide range of individual and collective actions in this context. Information seeking and sharing in serious leisure is not only a source of personal satisfaction for the participants, it also can provide them with a sense of purpose in a meaningful journey towards self-actualization and social inclusion.

Research limitations/implications

The generalisability of the findings needs to be examined in wider populations. Nonetheless, the existing findings can be useful for follow-up research in the area.

Practical implications

This study will be useful in both policy and practice levels. In the policy level, it will be beneficial for cultural policy makers to gain a better understanding about the nature of leisure activities. In the practice level, it will be helpful for serious leisure participants to understand the value of information seeking and sharing in their leisure endeavours. Also, information professionals can use it to enhance the quality of their services for the serious leisure participants who are usually among devoted patrons of libraries, museums, archives and galleries.

Social implications

Learning about serious leisure can provide new insights on people preferences in terms of choosing different entertaining and recreational pursuits – such as indoor and outdoor hobbies – in their free time.


The informational aspects of serious leisure is an emerging and evolving ground of research. This paper provides empirical evidence on this topic from a specific context in the regional areas in Australia.



This paper is part of the author's research program about human information behaviour in the context of serious leisure funded by the Faculty of Arts and Education at Charles Sturt University in Australia. The author express his deep appreciation to all the participants in this study. What they have done is a great example of generous information sharing. The author is also grateful to the reviewers for their constructive comments.Funding: This study was funded by the Faculty of Arts and Education at Charles Sturt University in Australia and the grant number is A541.3101.30603.


Mansourian, Y. (2021), "Information activities in serious leisure as a catalyst for self-actualisation and social engagement", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 77 No. 4, pp. 887-905.



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