research interest

My research interest is in Information Behavior and Knowledge Management. This is an area of study in Information Science. I am interested in studying how people go about looking for information and the contextual factors that impact the way people choose information sources.

I see this from a number of perspectives:

  • from understanding the user or the seeker (information need, information seeking, context) to the user’s interaction with information systems, technology and the user’s context (source choice, human-computer interaction, technology adoption, health informatics);
  • from looking at theories, models and frameworks in both the user and systems side of information seeking, and those of context to empirical studies of source choice;
  • from looking at this phenomenon in task and role-based contexts such as office workers, medical residents, Library and Information Science graduate students to everyday life such as toddler’s information seeking to a historical context such as information seeking in ancient Indian epics;
  • applying both positivist and interpretivist, quantitative and qualitative research and evaluation methods to this phenomena – ranging from surveys and interviews to theoretical studies;
  • seeing the relationship between identity and context, and between information and happiness;
  • finally, being aware of the times when you encounter information serendipitously, when one is not consciously looking for it.

I see these as continuums and am constantly looking at understanding and synthesizing these apparent contradictions. An understanding of this phenomenon helps us design better systems and work environments and assist in making our lives and work more meaningful.

As of May, 2012, I’m working on a survey study that is a context-based investigation into the information seeking behavior and source use by medical residents in a hospital setting. The work is part of a research grant from the President’s Fund for Faculty Excellence.

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