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Empirical studies of collaborative information seeking: a review of methodological issues
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
Number of Authors: 22019 (English)In: Journal of Documentation, ISSN 0022-0418, E-ISSN 1758-7379, Vol. 75, no 1, p. 140-163Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose Information seeking is often performed in collaborative contexts. The research into such collaborative information seeking (CIS) has been proceeding since the 1990s but lacks methodological discussions. The purpose of this paper is to analyze and discuss methodological issues in existing CIS studies. Design/methodology/approach The authors systematically review 69 empirical CIS studies. Findings The review shows that the most common methods of data collection are lab experiments (43 percent), observation (19 percent) and surveys (16 percent), that the most common methods of data analysis are description (33 percent), statistical testing (29 percent) and content analysis (19 percent) and that CIS studies involve a fairly even mix of novice, intermediate and specialist participants. However, the authors also find that CIS research is dominated by exploratory studies, leaves it largely unexplored in what ways the findings of a study may be specific to the particular study setting, appears to assign primacy to precision at the expense of generalizability, struggles with investigating how CIS activities extend over time and provides data about behavior to a larger extent than about reasons, experiences and especially outcomes. Research limitations/implications The major implication of this review is its identification of the need for a shared model to which individual CIS studies can contribute in a cumulative manner. To support the development of such a model, the authors discuss a model of the core CIS process and a model of the factors that trigger CIS. Originality/value This study assesses the current state of CIS research, provides guidance for future CIS studies and aims to inspire further methodological discussion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 75, no 1, p. 140-163
Keywords [en]
Research methods, Information science, Information seeking, Information behaviour, Collaborative information seeking, Collaborative search
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences Media and Communications
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-163825DOI: 10.1108/JD-05-2018-0072ISI: 000453074900008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-163825DiVA, id: diva2:1277175
Available from: 2019-01-09 Created: 2019-01-09 Last updated: 2019-01-09Bibliographically approved

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