Information seeking behaviour

February 2, 2010

Model of user experience while searching information (six stages):

  1. Initiation: The user becomes concious of a gap in knowledge. Feelings of uncertainty and apprehension are common; the main task is to recognize a need for information.
  2. Selection: Ubncertainty often gives way to feelings of optimism and a readiness to begin searching. The task is to identify and select the topic to be investigated. Thoughts are forward-looking and attempt to predict an outcome.
  3. Exploration: Feelings of uncertainty, confusion, and doubt return. The general inability to precisely express an information need commonly results in an awkward interaction with the system.
  4. Formulation: Rising confidence ion decreasing uncertainty mark a turning point in the process. Forming a focus becomes the chief task as thoughts become clearer.
  5. Collection: Interaction with the information system is most effective and efficient. Decisions about the scope and focus of the topic have been made and a sense of direction sets in. Confidence continues to increase.
  6. Presentation: The goal now is to complete the search and fulfil the information need. A sense of relief is common as well as satisfaction and dissatisfaction (in the case of a negative outcome). Thoughts center on synthesizing and internalizing what was learned.

By Carol C. Kuhlthau, cited in Kalbach (2007, p.47)

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