Uncertainty in information seeking
Where did the idea come from? - I
- Tefko Saracevic:
- ďIf the IR pioneers did not embrace relevance, but letís say uncertainty as the basic notion, IR theory, practice, and evaluation would have looked very different.Ē
- (Saracevic, T. Relevance reconsidered, in: Ingwersen, P. & Pors, N.O., eds. Proceedings: COLIS 2 Second International ConferenceÖ Copenhagen: Royal School of Librarianship, 1996, p. 202)
Where did the idea come from? - II
- Information seeking as goal-directed behaviour
- developed in a paper for Gernot Wersig in the early 1980s - not published
Goal directed behaviour
Putting it together
- In goal-directed behaviour information-seeking actions are performed when some uncertainty exists about how to progress.
- That is, uncertainty resolution is the aim of information-seeking behaviour.
- This led to the idea of using uncertainty resolution in a problem solving model.
The problem solving model
Other models - Ellis
Other models - Kuhlthau
- Exploration - investigate
- Generalised models may assume that everyone does things in the same way.
- We know that individuals differ in the way they approach problems.
- We know that cognitive style, discipline, and sex affect many aspects of learning.
- What is their effect on information seeking?
The research questions
- Does the problem-solving model hold?
- Is the concept of uncertainty capable of being operationalised?
- Is there any association between different problem stages and either Ellisís characteristics or Kuhlthauís stages?
- Is there any association between Ellisís characteristics and Kuhlthauís stages?
- What is the effect of individual differences?
Some results - 1.1
- 2.2 What stage are you at in terms of defining or resolving the problem, or in presenting the answer?
- Please respond using one of the categories indicated below. If no single category sums up where you are in your work please indicate the approximate position.
Some results - 1.2
Some results - 2.1
- How certain are you:
- a) that you have recognised a real issue to investigate?
- b) that you have defined the topic appropriately?
- c) that the issue can be resolved?
- d) that an effective way of presenting the results can be found?
- e) that relevant information is available and can be found?
Some results - 2.2 - the scale
Some results - 2.3 - issue?
Some results - 2.4 - def?
Some results - 2.5 - resoln?
Some results - 2.6 - presn?
Some results - 2.7 - info?
Some results - 2.8 - uncert.
- Problem identification 6.9275 1.5261
- Problem definition 6.0436 1.8686
- Problem resolution 6.1118 1.8457
- Results presentation 6.4889 1.5760
- Information available 5.9762 1.9548
Some results - 3.1
- Problem stage and Kuhlthau stage:
- sig. .001 for Exploration:Definition
- sig. .000 for Presentation:Resolution
- These are the only significant relationships and the last looks rather odd!
Some results - 3.2
- Problem stage and Ellisís characteristics:
- there were no significant relationships between problem stage and Ellisís characteristics, suggesting that Ellis is right in regarding these as characteristics of the search process (which may occur at any problem stage) rather than as stages.
Some results - 4.1
- Kuhlthau/Ellis relationships:
- Collection:Monitoring - Chi-square sig at .022
- Formulation:Monitoring - sig. at .012
- Formulation:Extracting - sig. at .036
- Initiation:Monitoring - sig. at .009
- Presentation:Browsing - sig. at .055
Some results - 5
- Individual differences:
- the individual differences variables have not yet been fully explored, but some relations that are emerging show significant relations between some information seeking variables and the verbaliser/imager scale; between those variables and age; and between those variables and sex.
Some results - 5.1 - discip
Some results - 5.2 - discip
- Variables explored in qualitative research can be tested and validated in quantitative research.
- Large-scale projects can explore many dimensions of a project.
- Information seeking behaviour is as complex as we always believed!