Collectivist Information Behavior: Mentoring Circles as Sites for Knowledge Creation
Information behavior research has typically explored individual-level practices, even within studies of groups and group activities. Although collaborative information seeking has emerged in recent years to explore how people search for and share information, much of this research also focuses on individual-level experiences. Collectivist approaches to information behavior have been conducted in only a few studies in the discipline; however, collectivism offers a unique, holistic way to study information practices at within-group levels. Collectivism also accounts for the social, professional, and other contextual elements that shape group members’ information practices when pursuing common shared goals. This exploratory qualitative study – situated in a constructivist grounded theory methodology – investigated wine industry members’ experiences while engaging in peer mentoring circles. Designed as a professional development activity, the mentoring circles provided a platform for the development of long-term relationships among group members to foster information sharing and knowledge creation relevant to their work environments. The data point to a number of emergent themes concerning the conditions under which collectivist groups support members’ information needs. Findings point to the importance of group cohesion developed through shared (industry-based) language and knowledge and development of kin-like relationships to generate unique knowledge communities. Interdependency and reciprocity are shown to play key roles in motivating individual group members to share information with their peers.
Reviewing the Landscape of Research on the Threats to the Quality of User-Generated Content
The objective of the paper is to review and synthesize scholarly articles on the threats to the quality of user-generated content (UGC). In this paper, threats to the quality of UGC are defined as the perpetration of misleading information caused by the lack of editorial control. They include deception, disinformation, manipulation, misinformation and rumors whose veracity cannot be easily established. In particular, this paper identifies (a) the research objectives that had been investigated, (b) the research methods that had been employed, and (c) the disciplines that studied the threats to the quality of UGC. The dominant research objective includes investigating the dynamics of threats. The most widely adopted research methods include quantitative analysis of real world data. This area of research was found to attract both intra-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary scholarly attention. It even attracted attention from practitioners affiliated to non-academic institutes. Finally, this paper serves as a call for scholars to identify possible ways to mitigate the threats to the quality of UGC. It also encourages the use of qualitative approaches.
Evolution of Information Practices Over Time
Although researchers have grappled with conceptualizations of time in relation to information behavior, the effect of time on information practices has been a challenge to study and theorize. Longitudinal naturalistic methods provide an opportunity to observe information practices in context over time, but have infrequently been used in information research. This paper presents a qualitative ethnographic exploration of the changes over time in the information practices of a group of young parents in Canada, a population experiencing substantial life changes as young adults and new parents both. Using grounded theory, this analysis explores time-related processes in the lives of young parents and they ways these processes affect information practices such as seeking, sharing, and use of information. Three case examples illustrate the interplay over time of individual characteristics, setting, and events, and the impact on an individual’s information practices. Based on these findings, a theoretical model to inform future investigations of information practice evolution over time is presented.