Doctoral Posters #21-24
Purpose/Objective of study: This study explores the impact of individuals’ religious faith on information behavior, particularly information use. Religious intolerance continues to stratify barriers between communities, globally and domestically. The significance of faith in decision-making is not only evident in fundamentalist violence abroad, but also in Pres. Bush’s professed faith-based approach to decision-making. While the role of Bush’s faith in his information behavior affects political policy-making, faith’s role in information behavior is germane to many more individuals’ roles and social/institutional networks; it warrants the systematic investigation of faith’s impact on user-defined relevance of information. This study’s purpose is exploring problems in information action faced by the dichotomy between the faith-related and secular research expectations transparent in the information sources employed in situated thesis writing.
Sample and Setting: One area where profession of faith substantially affects information needs due to institutional policy is in graduate studies of theology and religion. This study is first concerned with the faith-related and secular sources from a purposive sample at the research setting of Harvard University, where sources inform the thesis process of the two mutually exclusive degrees – Master’s of Divinity and Master’s of Theological Studies – that prepare future ministers and future academicians.
Method: To operationalize the variables of degrees, this study adopts Dervin’s revised sense-making theory with its barrier component. At the 2006 Annual Meeting of ASIS&T, Dervin confirmed the conceptualization of degree type as a barrier in her theoretical model, stating, “[that it is] impacting students throughout their [Master’s] thesis research.” To locate the most appropriate research subjects for qualitative inquiry, this study first investigates the content of Master’s theses acknowledgements, following Cronin’s recent bibliometrics on acknowledgements. The frequency with which the acknowledgements of the respective degrees’ theses acknowledge affiliates of their own degree programs informs further data collection. The content analysis of the acknowledgements accompanying Master’s theses focuses strictly with the explicitly manifest content of the acknowledgements.
Data collection techniques(s): To examine the process of Master’s theses research and composition; this study aims to examine the social behavior of graduate students of religion as manifest in the interpersonal information sources they acknowledge in theses submitted for the Master’s degree and whom they characterize in intensive interviews. After having the initial data about information sources, collected and coded according to the information source type, the information sources are juxtaposed to external data about the degree affiliations of the people acknowledged. This analysis of implicit content serves as a lens into the relationships between authors, affiliations and acknowledgements. Having that information facilitates collection of richer data from theses authors through interviewing than otherwise obtainable from the content analysis of the acknowledgements.
Results: The intensive interviewing of Master’s students qualifies the results of the preliminary analysis of degree-relevant information source preferences. If information behavior relates to degree programs defined by students’ faith, the specific evidence should be used to facilitate access to the information sources that will best satisfy the information needs of those patrons with faith while also catering to those without faith.
Purpose/Objective of study: This research is one of a few studies that have investigated the information behavior of younger elementary school children. It is significant in that recent cognitive research has established that there are considerable and rapid intellectual changes throughout childhood, meaning that studies and/or models outlining the information-seeking experiences of older students and adults might not identify, explain or address the unique information needs of younger elementary school students. Thus, the findings of this study, while providing insight into the barriers faced by children when seeking information, how they use information in an educational context, and how they can be helped to better exploit the information resources available to them, also will inform an information behavioral model specific to grade-three students.
Sample and Setting: This study was conducted over a 3 month period (Winter 2006) in two elementary school classes within an elementary school in a suburb of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Each class met daily with the same teacher for half of the day, rotating between mornings and afternoons. There were 52 students, 12 of whom were studied in greater depth as part of two sample groups, one in each class.
Method: This is a qualitative, phenomenological study.
Data Collection Techniques: Six different types of data collection techniques were employed: participant observation (field notes, audio- and video-tapes, captures of Internet searching sessions), interviews (teacher, 12 volunteer students and some of their parents), questionnaires (pre and post to all attending grade-three students), self-evaluations (all grade-three students), journals (12 volunteers), and final projects (12 volunteers).
23. Daniel R. Roland
Purpose/Objective of study: To apply the principles of Dervin’s Sense-Making theory to the primary research question: How does a clergy member go about preparing a sermon that relates faith to the modern world by preaching from the Bible in terms understandable to the modern mind and by relating Christian teachings to current issues and human needs? Three particular aspects of the sermon preparation process were explored as expressed in the secondary research questions for the research project: