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Article

Waqar Ahmad Awan, Kanwal Ameen and Saira Hanif Soroya

Literature divides information behaviours into two forms: first, interacting information with a purpose in mind and second, encountering accidently in three environments…

Abstract

Purpose

Literature divides information behaviours into two forms: first, interacting information with a purpose in mind and second, encountering accidently in three environments including person to person, analogue and online environment. However, the unique information encountering and encountered information keeping behaviour of social sciences research students of Asian culture in an online environment remained unexplored. Therefore, the present study is designed to investigate the research information encountering and encountered information keeping behaviour of the students of social sciences in an online environment.

Design/methodology/approach

The quantitative approach and survey technique were used for the study. The research students were approached using a multi-stage total population sampling technique. In total, 233 returned questionnaires were entered and analysed in SPSS (version 22). Descriptive (frequencies and percentages) and inferential statistical techniques (t-tests, one-way ANOVA, effect sizes, correlations and regression) were applied to meet the objectives of the study.

Findings

The results of the study indicate that the respondents whether male or female, of MPhil or PhD, whichever frequency to use the Internet, often encounter research information. However, those who use the Internet for general browsing encounter more than those who purposively. This makes a change to the model of information encountering that the users encounter information while generally browsing and not only while actively working on foreground information searching. Moreover, the research students prefer to use simple tools on complex software based for keeping the encountered research information. The information if kept properly for use, may be useful in the course of research, ease its tasks and result in increasing the speed of research productivity.

Practical implications

The present study has theoretical and practical implications. Theoretically first, it fills the literature gap regarding research information encountering and its keeping and second, it came up with a proof that the researcher not only encounter research information while foreground information searching but while generally browsing also. Hence, information encountering model is equally applicable to research students who generally browse. Regarding practical implications, the study identifies that the research students prefer to keep using simple tools. Hence, information literacy instructors, either librarians or continuous education program designers are advised to incorporate instructional programs on the use of complex software-based tools for keeping information.

Originality/value

This is the first study in non-Western countries which investigated the research information encountering behaviour of social sciences MPhil and PhD students. The preferred tools to keep the encountered research information are first time identified in the literature.

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Article

Matthew Bird-Meyer, Sanda Erdelez and Jenny Bossaller

The purpose of this paper is to build upon the studies of journalism from an LIS perspective by exploring and differentiating the purposive behavior of newspaper reporters…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to build upon the studies of journalism from an LIS perspective by exploring and differentiating the purposive behavior of newspaper reporters from their serendipitous encounters with information that lead to new story ideas. This paper also provides a path toward pedagogical improvements in training the modern journalism workforce in being more open to creative story ideas.

Design/methodology/approach

This study utilized semi-structured telephone interviews. Participants were recruited via e-mail after collecting contact information through the Cision database. The study sample was drawn from newspaper reporters who work at or freelance for the top 25 metropolitan newspapers in the USA, in terms of circulation size, based on data from the Alliance for Audited Media. A total of 15 participants were interviewed.

Findings

This paper provides insight into the story ideation process of journalists in that the study participants generally do not think about how they are coming up with story ideas as much as they are striving to place themselves in situations where, based on their experience and interests, they know they are more likely to encounter a good idea. Each encounter proved meaningful in some powerful fashion, which speaks to the historical importance of serendipity in achieving breakthroughs and discoveries in a wide variety of fields.

Research limitations/implications

The sampling frame for this study was relatively small, representing 8 percent of the total number of working newspaper journalists from the top 25 newspapers in the USA, in terms of circulation size. Therefore, the findings are not generalizable to the entire population of journalists in this country.

Practical implications

The findings point to the importance of a prepared mind in facilitating serendipitous episodes. In the case of journalism, that means developing a heightened news sense and cultivating routines where they place themselves in trigger-rich environments. Pedagogically, journalism education must include courses in creative storytelling to help train the modern newspaper workforce in an ever-expanding and competitive media landscape. These courses, ideally paired with techniques and models from the field of information science and learning technologies, could help train young journalists in methods that enhance their ability to identify, seek and pursue serendipitous stories.

Originality/value

This paper fulfills a need in journalism studies in finding variability in news routines by utilizing an interdisciplinary approach that combines journalism studies and library and information science models to probe how journalists encounter ideas incidentally. Previous research in this area has focused on how news consumers serendipitously encounter information. This paper takes a fresh approach to explore how creative ideas are encountered serendipitously in the construction of news.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 75 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article

Sanda Erdelez and Stephann Makri

In order to understand the totality, diversity and richness of human information behavior, increasing research attention has been paid to examining serendipity in the…

Abstract

Purpose

In order to understand the totality, diversity and richness of human information behavior, increasing research attention has been paid to examining serendipity in the context of information acquisition. However, several issues have arisen as this research subfield has tried to find its feet; we have used different, inconsistent terminology to define this phenomenon (e.g. information encountering, accidental information discovery, incidental information acquisition), the scope of the phenomenon has not been clearly defined and its nature was not fully understood or fleshed-out.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper, information encountering (IE) was proposed as the preferred term for serendipity in the context of information acquisition.

Findings

A reconceptualized definition and scope of IE was presented, a temporal model of IE and a refined model of IE that integrates the IE process with contextual factors and extends previous models of IE to include additional information acquisition activities pre- and postencounter.

Originality/value

By providing a more precise definition, clearer scope and richer theoretical description of the nature of IE, there was hope to make the phenomenon of serendipity in the context of information acquisition more accessible, encouraging future research consistency and thereby promoting deeper, more unified theoretical development.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 76 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article

Waqar Ahmad Awan, Kanwal Ameen and Saira Hanif Soroya

Information behaviour exists in two forms: first when information is sought with a clear purpose and second, when we encounter it accidentally or serendipitiously. The…

Abstract

Purpose

Information behaviour exists in two forms: first when information is sought with a clear purpose and second, when we encounter it accidentally or serendipitiously. The purpose of this paper is to estimate the information encountering (IE) and encountered information sharing (EIS) behaviour of research students in an online environment.

Design/methodology/approach

The quantitative research approach was applied to carry out this research. The authors selected 120 MPhil and PhD research students (who research information as a part of their assignments) from six departments as sample for the study. Out of 120 research students, 93 returned the filled questionnaires. The collected data were analysed in SPSS version 22. First, descriptive statistics to estimate the IE and sharing behaviour; and later one-way ANOVA and post hoc comparisons using the Tukey HSD tests were applied to investigate the EIS based on the frequency of internet usage.

Findings

The findings indicate that the mean scores of the responses remain between “sometimes” and “often”, in all the behavioural sub-constructs of the model of IE, i.e. noticing, stopping, examining, capturing, storing (keeping), sharing and returning. The extended model proved to be valid in an online environment in the context of Pakistani culture. While estimating EIS, the results indicated significantly higher sharing and large effect size among the research students who used the internet from 11 to 15 h a week than those who used it between 6 and 10 h.

Practical implications

Keeping in view the results the research students and parent organisations (universities) working for the improvement of research ranking and research students’ better performance, should know that research information is not only actively acquired but also huge amount of information is accidentally encountered and shared. Therefore, the universities should train their research students to enhance the information sharing of encountered information. That will promote the research culture and may enhance the speed of learning, research work and ultimately result in competitive advantage, without any extra effort.

Originality/value

This is the first study of its type in Pakistan to measure the IE behaviour of research students in an online environment. Moreover, it is the first study which investigates the extended model of IE using a quantitative approach in the Pakistani research environment, which originated in Japan via qualitative research approach.

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Article

Tingting Jiang, Fang Liu and Yu Chi

Information encountering is the serendipitous acquisition of information that requires low or no involvement and expectation of users. The purpose of this paper is to…

Abstract

Purpose

Information encountering is the serendipitous acquisition of information that requires low or no involvement and expectation of users. The purpose of this paper is to model the explicit process and the implicit factors of online information encountering, i.e. how and why it occurs.

Design/methodology/approach

The critical incident technique was adopted to collect qualitative data from 16 interview participants. They contributed 27 true incidents of online information encountering which were used to identify the key phases of the encountering process. They also commented on the factors that they thought had an influence on the chance of the occurrence of encountering.

Findings

The macro-process of information encountering is composed of three phases. First, browsing, searching, or social interaction provides the context for encountering; second, the encountering occurrence consists of three steps – noticing the stimuli, examining the content, and acquiring interesting or useful content; and third, the information encountered will be explored further, saved, used, or shared. The 14 influencing factors of information encountering obtained divide into three clusters. User-related factors include sensitivity, emotions, expertise, attitudes, intentionality, curiosity, activity diversity; information-related factors include type, relevance, quality, visibility, and sources; and environment-related factors include time limits and interface usability.

Originality/value

This study engenders useful implications for designing information encountering experience. The changeable nature of some influencing factors suggests that encountering can be elicited through the purposive design of encountering support features or even encountering systems, and the macro-process depicts the natural occurring mechanisms of encountering for the design to follow.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 71 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article

Yosef Solomon and Jenny Bronstein

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of serendipity in legal information seeking behavior of family law advocates, whom act in a challenging information

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of serendipity in legal information seeking behavior of family law advocates, whom act in a challenging information environment that lacks published court rulings.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative research using a web-based structured questionnaire, among Israeli family law advocates. Single stage systematic sampling, with random starting point and no recurring pattern of each sixth family law advocate on the Israel Bar Advocates List, was applied. Data from 135 Israeli family law advocates were used for analysis.

Findings

Electronic information sources were found as most serendipitous; family law advocates were identified as super encounterers; four types of professional background concerns and seven legal professional contributions of the unexpected encounters with court rulings, were identified. Furthermore, findings support several frameworks presented on earlier information encounter literature.

Research limitations/implications

Data absence on demographic and professional variables distributions of Israeli family law advocates was a limiting factor, compensated by the systematic sampling method used, thus can be regarded to reflect the views of the entire study population. Surveys’ reliance on self-reporting recalls of serendipitous events is also a limiting factor, though predicted and acceptable in this matter since chance encounters occur unexpectedly and are complex to capture.

Practical implications

Chance encounters may expose lawyers to meaningful information it is unlikely they were able to find because its limited publication, and assist them keep up with current law for better serves their clients.

Originality/value

The study augments the current empirically based knowledge on serendipity and provides insights into legal information chance encounters among a little-studied group of knowledge workers: family law advocates.

Details

Aslib Journal of Information Management, vol. 68 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-3806

Keywords

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Article

Ágústa Pálsdóttir

This paper aims to explore health and lifestyle information seeking behaviour by examining the connection between purposive information seeking and information encountering.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore health and lifestyle information seeking behaviour by examining the connection between purposive information seeking and information encountering.

Design/methodology/approach

Data on purposive seeking and information encountering, gathered from postal surveys in 2002 and 2007, were compared. Random samples of 1,000 Icelanders, aged 18 to 80 were used. The response rate was 51 per cent in 2002 and 47 per cent in 2007. Based on the purposive seeking in 22 sources, k‐means cluster analysis was used to draw four clusters of participants: passive, moderately passive, moderately active and active.

Findings

The results from 2007 and 2002 revealed the same kind of information seeking. The findings indicate that information encountering is an integral feature of information seeking behaviour. Information is encountered more often than sought on purpose by all clusters. Clusters that were active in purposive information seeking were also active in information encountering and those who were passive in either of the two styles of information seeking were also passive in the other.

Research limitations/implications

The response rates are considered satisfactory in postal surveys. Nevertheless, when missing data in the cluster analysis are also considered it raises a question about the validity of the findings. The findings of the studies, however, are strengthened by the fact that respondents reflect the population fairly well.

Practical implications

Improved knowledge of information seeking and how different groups within society can be reached more effectively is important for health promotion and public health practice.

Originality/value

The paper uses quantitative methods to examine the connection between purposive information seeking and information encountering.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 66 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article

Xiaosong Zhou, Xu Sun, Qingfeng Wang and Sarah Sharples

The current understanding of serendipity is based primarily on studies employing westerners as the participants, and it remains uncertain whether or not this understanding…

Abstract

Purpose

The current understanding of serendipity is based primarily on studies employing westerners as the participants, and it remains uncertain whether or not this understanding would be pervasive under different cultures, such as in China. In addition, there is not a sufficient systematic investigation of context during the occurrence of serendipity in current studies. The purpose of this paper is to examine the above issues by conducting a follow-up empirical study with a group of Chinese scholars.

Design/methodology/approach

The social media application “WeChat” was employed as a research tool. A diary-based study was conducted and 16 participants were required to send to the researchers any cases of serendipity they encountered during a period of two weeks, and this was followed by a post-interview.

Findings

Chinese scholars experienced serendipity in line with the three main processes of: encountering unexpectedness, connection-making and recognising the value. An updated context-based serendipity model was constructed, where the role of context during each episode of experiencing serendipity was identified, including the external context (e.g. time, location and status), the social context and the internal context (e.g. precipitating conditions, sagacity/perceptiveness and emotion).

Originality/value

The updated context model provides a further understanding of the role played by context during the different processes of serendipity. The framework for experiencing serendipity has been expanded, and this may be used to classify the categories of serendipity.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 74 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article

Tingting Jiang, Shiting Fu and Enmei Song

One of the primary challenges of conducting information encountering (IE) research is the difficulty in capturing people's IE experiences. The purpose of this paper is to…

Abstract

Purpose

One of the primary challenges of conducting information encountering (IE) research is the difficulty in capturing people's IE experiences. The purpose of this paper is to develop a general description framework of IE experiences as guidance for participants to record diary entries in diary studies of IE.

Design/methodology/approach

340 descriptions of IE incidents were collected from 18 previous IE studies as secondary data. A thematic analysis of the secondary data engendered a general description framework of IE experiences composed of 9 main themes and 31 sub-themes. The framework was then applied in a diary study to investigate Generation Z's online IE behavior.

Findings

The nine main themes of the framework, including “environment”, “foreground activity”, “stimulus noticed”, “reaction to stimulus”, “content examined”, “interaction with encountered information”, “value of experience”, “pre-encountering emotional state”, and “post-encountering emotional state”, were used to create a diary questionnaire for collecting IE incidents. The sub-themes were refined and organized into a coding scheme for the content analysis of the incidents collected. The diary study collected 255 valid IE incidents which were analyzed based on three phases, that is, pre-encountering, encountering, and post-encountering.

Originality/value

The value of this study consists in its methodological contributions. First, it makes creative use of secondary data accumulated in the literature and derives from the thematic analysis a general framework which people follow to describe their IE experiences. Second, it demonstrates the great potential of diaries for data collection in IE research through the successful application of the general description framework of IE experiences in a diary study. Third, the diary questionnaire created based on the framework provides sufficient guidance in eliciting complete and detailed IE incidents.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 76 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article

Allen Edward Foster and David Ellis

– The purpose of this paper is to explore the concept of serendipity and approaches to its study particularly in relation to information studies.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the concept of serendipity and approaches to its study particularly in relation to information studies.

Design/methodology/approach

The origins of the term serendipity are described and its elaboration as an exploratory and explanatory concept in science and the social sciences are outlined. The distinction between serendipity and serendipity pattern is explained and theoretical and empirical studies of both serendipity and the serendipity patterns are explored. The relationship between information encountering is described. Empirical studies of serendipity using Citation Classics and other research approaches in information studies are described.

Findings

The discrepancy between occurrences of serendipity in studies using Citation Classics and reported serendipity in philosophy of science, research anecdotes, information encountering and information seeking by inter-disciplinary researchers is highlighted. A comparison between a process model of serendipity and serendipity as an emergent behavioural characteristic are indicates directions for future research.

Originality/value

The paper provides and original synthesis of the theoretical and empirical literature on serendipity with particular reference to work in information studies and an indication of the methodological difficulties involved in its study.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 70 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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