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Dissertation Information for Jacqueline Algon

NAME:
- Jacqueline Algon

DEGREE:
- Ph.D.

DISCIPLINE:
- Library and Information Science

SCHOOL:
- Rutgers University (USA) (1999)

ADVISORS:
- Nicholas Belkin

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
- Carol Kuhlthau
- Hartmut Mokros
- George Gordon
- Brent D. Ruben
- Diane H. Sonnenwald

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: The effect of task on the information-related behaviors of individuals in a work-group environment

Abstract: Over the past three decades, Information Science (IS) thought leaders examining behaviors of individuals seeking information have proposed that these behaviors are influenced by people's need to make sense of their environment, that the use environment is the driver, or that it is the process of information seeking that explains the behaviors. These ideas have led to the alternative suggestions that information seeking behaviors are conditioned by the person's individual characteristics; by the person's information use environment; or by the task that the person is engaged in. Although the first two explanations have been investigated often, few investigators have explored the interrelationships between tasks and information behaviors. This dissertation asks whether there are regular relationships between the information-related behaviors ( IRBs ) of individuals in a work-group environment and the tasks they have been assigned, given that we account for major personal and situational factors ( PSFs ).

The research question acknowledges the way work is accomplished in a group milieu: that members are assigned tasks and their success in completing the tasks may impact the larger success of the group or the endeavor. Most of the tasks require information. By understanding the nature of task, of information seeking, using and providing, and their interrelationships, and by considering the demographics and personal perspectives of individuals working in group environments, we may be able to help streamline the information life cycle in the task, to be proactive in having information ready for those who will require it, to recognize and develop tools for individuals on teams to meet their information-related requirements more easily and to have a new research measure in the form of information-related activities and task classifications.

Several specific research questions were articulated to guide the characterization of task, IRB and PSFs. Two methods--participant observation and a memorable incident survey of drug development project team members in a large pharmaceutical corporation--were triangulated to gather data in a natural setting over a three-year period. From the observation data, a task classification was generated using the method of Glaser and Strauss. Seven categories of task were identified and a meta-structure was extracted. The survey data confirmed the task classification and showed that the steps performed to complete the task are subtasks ( i.e ., they classify within the same categories as tasks). A classification of activities (operationalized IRBs) evolved seven distinct categories of IRB, plus an eighth category representing behaviors not related to information.

Application of quantitative analyses confirmed that the type of task indeed influences the IRBs that person applies. Other interesting results include: (1) development of a model of factors influencing IRB which proposes task as the primary influence, with PSFs as mediating variables; (2) importance of the individual's organizational area and discipline to both task and IRB and (3) association of task type with the drug development timeline. The 'real life' setting, two new classifications and extension to the full information life cycle are contributions to the IS and Management literatures.

MPACT Scores for Jacqueline Algon

A = 0
C = 0
A+C = 0
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2008-01-31 06:10:58

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Students under Jacqueline Algon

ADVISEES:
- None

COMMITTEESHIPS:
- None