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Information behaviour of graduate students: a qualitative user study

Keywords: Sense-Making methodology , Brenda Dervin , information behaviour , graduate students , qualitative research

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Abstract:

The article presents a qualitative user study exploring information behaviour of graduate students. The study is conceptually based on Brenda Dervin’s Sense-Making Methodology. The information behaviour is conceptualised as a process. The author conducted 13 interviews using the time-line micro moment interview technique. Data were transcribed and then condensed using the ATLAS/ti program for qualitative analysis. The basic approach to the analysis was to compare the moments of sense making instances within the situation of the same actor and also a comparison of moments across situations of different actors. The characteristics of actors’ situations was described. The most intensive information activity of graduate students was found during the completion of their studies. The proposed model consisted of three successive types of gaps: topic selection gap, topic ignorance gap and literature collecting gap. The article also presents findings about the process of writing and information habits.

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