The Information-seeking Strategies of Humanities Scholars Using Resources in Languages Other Than English
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Ann Greer, Lynn Loewen, Maria Haigh, Johannes Britz
Barriers, Culfure, Information-seeking, International, Language, Research
THE INFORMATION-SEEKING STRATEGIES OF HUMANITIES SCHOLARS
USING RESOURCES IN LANGUAGES OTHER THAN ENGLISH
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2016
Under the Supervision of Dr. Iris Xie
This dissertation explores the information-seeking strategies used by scholars in the humanities who rely on resources in languages other than English. It investigates not only the strategies they choose but also the shifts that they make among strategies and the role that language, culture, and geography play in the information-seeking context. The study used purposive sampling to engage 40 human subjects, all of whom are post-doctoral humanities scholars based in the United States who conduct research in a variety of languages. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and research diaries in order to answer three research questions: What information-seeking strategies are used by scholars conducting research in languages other than English? What shifts do scholars make among strategies in routine, disruptive, and/or problematic situations? And In what ways do language, culture, and geography play a role in the information-seeking context, especially in the problematic situations? The data were then analyzed using grounded theory and the constant comparative method. A new conceptual model – the information triangle – was used and is presented in this dissertation to categorize and visually map the strategies and shifts. Based on data collected, thirty distinct strategies were identified and divided into four categories: formal system, informal resource, interactive human, and hybrid strategies. Three types of shifts were considered: planned, opportunistic, and alternative. Finally, factors related to language, culture, and geography were identified and analyzed according to their roles in the information-seeking context. This study is the first of its kind to combine the study of information-seeking behaviors with the factors of language, culture, and geography, and as such, it presents numerous methodological and practical implications along with many opportunities for future research.
Sabbar, Carol, "The Information-seeking Strategies of Humanities Scholars Using Resources in Languages Other Than English" (2016). Theses and Dissertations. 1409.