Diary and analysis of an information seeking event (20 of grade)
DUE: Monday, 16 July 2018 at 23:59
In this assignment, you will collect observations of your own information seeking experiences over a short period of time, write these observations up in a descriptive account, and interpret your actions in light of the course readings and discussions to date. There are three purposes to this assignment:
- To observe and reflect upon a concrete example of information seeking by applying theories from our field;
- To choose your user group for your term paper;
- To begin collecting empirical research for your term paper.
To choose your user group, brainstorm a list of populations of interest to you for your term paper. Remember that in this assignment you must select an identifiable group of people and provide a cogent, evidence-based analysis and synthesis of that group’s information behaviors. In order to do so, you must choose a group for which a body of published research is available. That is the focus of this diary and analysis assignment.
After brainstorming a list of potential populations of interest, begin searching for available literature on their information behaviors. As you search for relevant and useful articles, keep a record of your information interactions related to this process over the course of one to two weeks. This record, or diary, should chronicle the unfolding of the event, including an account of what you did and why you chose to do so. You should preserve as much detail about your information practices as possible, in order to lend context and chronology to your analysis. Questions you may ask yourself include:
- How did your information needs change over time?
- What motivated you along the way?
- Did any incidental discoveries in your information seeking lead to unexpected findings?
- When and why did you stop looking for information?
- Did your emotions affect your seeking process?
- Section 9 of this article may be useful for further prompts: Kelly, D. (2009). Methods for
Evaluating Interactive Information Retrieval Systems with Users. Foundations and Trends in Information Retrieval, 3(1–2), 1–224. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/1500000012.
The diary does not need to be neat and orderly. It's more important that you record what's happening and what you're thinking/feeling as it's happening than that you present it neatly. It only needs to be neat enough so that you can interpret and remember what happened for your later analysis of the event.
For your analysis, relate your experience to at least two models of information behavior, which we discussed in the first six weeks of class. You may want to present this using a diagram or diagrams to aid your reader. Write a brief report (3-4 single-spaced pages) to interpret your experience. Instead of merely describing what happened at each step in the proess, concentrate on analyzing what happened and why you made the decisions you made as you sought out information. It is more important to hear your reactions to what you did than to hear what you did - how important was the information to you? What sources were consulted? What barriers or surprises did you experience? If you consulted systems or online sources, describe the interaction and why it worked, or did not. If you consulted other people, describe the interaction and how you were able to convey your need to this person. Why do you think your experience was a successful (or unsuccessful) one? What did you learn that you did not know beforehand? What would you do differently if a similar problem arises in the future?
Be sure to relate your observations to readings and discussions from class. Cite them as appropriate.