Tag Archives: information behavior

Situational Information Behaviour Exploring the Complexity of Refugee Integration

Article Authored By: Olubukola Oduntan & Ian Ruthven

Reviewed by: Latinx Group: Nancy Analco, Essy Barroso-Ramirez, Christopher Lopez, Carlos Luna , and Miguel Murillo

Link to article: https://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/ijidi/article/view/34033

Using Dervin’s sense-making theory, the authors explore the micro and macro challenges facing refugee integration within the framework of forced migration by analyzing findings from their research. This approach focuses on situations that abridge individual and contextual information needs, in order to identify systems host societies can implement in order to integrate refugees. Using situations as an approach can help interpret social complexity and capture intricate and complex details of social life by questioning events in terms of what happened first, second, and so on. Data was mainly gathered through a series of interviews using the sense-making situation-gap approach. Further, the information collected depicts the complexity of refugee integration as refugee’s experiences are not akin. Through their research, the authors were able to demonstrate that time and place are vital for situational investigation which focuses on a complex context such as forced migration.

Core Research Questions

What are the information challenges refugees encounter?

What are refugee information needs during refugee integration?

Do host societies successfully meet those information needs? If not, where are those information gaps/barriers? What causes them?

How does/Does the situation concept relate to information behavior in regard to individual and contextual needs within refugee integration?

In terms of approach to the research project, Oduntan & Ruthven’s employ Brenda Dervin’s situational sense-making methodology. As a theoretical concept “situation(al)” refers to a framework that considers how social factors of a particular context interact with each other and influence human behavior. In this case, the authors are concerned with the sense-making praxis of their research participants in order to appreciate how each participant’s past and future goals inform the way they navigate their situation.

Since their aim is to understand the information gaps and needs within the refugee integration dynamic, they require a framework that can appreciate the individual needs of each status of refugee and the universal challenges within or presented by host society institutions. In their words, “the situational approach to information behaviour enables dynamic interactions in context to be captured such that individual and contextual characteristics can be combined to determine information needs” (p., 7).

To collect this data, Oduntan & Ruthven utilize the qualitative research method of in-depth, semi structured interviews. They interviewed 20 individuals of different origins and stages of the refugee integration system. Of their population sample they interviewed 11 females, 9 males, including 2 participants under the age of 18 as well as individuals from families.

Findings and conclusions
The findings of the study indicate that in information behavior, information gaps are conditioned by micro and macro level situations. Individual situations and gaps of refugee seekers are embedded in an overarching macro level situation.

Ideal situations for refugees and asylum seekers as they have varying but unrestricted access to provisions to meet integration needs. Asylum seekers are provided with basic needs as they await decisions on their asylum applications. However, despite the ideal nature of the situation there were still individual and contextual information gaps such as misconceptions of specific provisions refugees were entitled to or inconsistencies in services provided due to lack of information.

Unideal situations refer to refused asylum seekers which are the category with restricted access to provisions to meet integration needs. Although basic needs can be provided they are heavily impacted by restrictions and limits. Information gaps at the macro and micro levels put asylum seekers at a disadvantage in terms of provisions and information.
Situational information behavior is the combined individual experiences and contextual conditions which in turn give us informational needs. In the case of forced migration, time and place are fundamental for situational investigation as this situational approach can provide better understanding of information needs.This means that a refugee can have their needs met and institutions can better design their responses to help refugees integrate.

Application in U.S. Context
Information is not only essential but a means of survival in many circumstances. The American Library Association (2006) has access to informational resources as one of its core values of librarianship. However, American libraries must stay vigilant and continuously review their policies, approaches, and technologies to ensure they can provide the services to keep up with developing technology, change the ways information gets generated and accessed, and provide services to meet the needs of diverse populations.

The study’s findings underscore the importance of creating practices that deliver information regardless of individual and contextual factors. Information will no longer create privilege; instead, it will create equal access to integration provisions to forcibly displaced people, refuge-seekers, and refugees. One key factor that American libraries can learn from the study is that access to information is not equal, so it is up to libraries and Library and Information Science professionals to bridge the gaps. Some of the methods that can help bridge the gaps are by frequently seeking ways to address the needs of the community, such as creating informational documents, videos, and webpages in different languages, working with an organization to help specific communities, creating programs services to help track the users and the services used.

Another point of connection is how American libraries play a role in the process of meeting the needs of refugee patrons, especially those in the thick of refugee integration. There is undoubtedly a strong emphasis on local living in our cities, some of it healthy and some of jingoistic. In this local-political introspection, libraries cannot forget that their patron consists of types of people, including those without the securities of citizenship or volitional immigration. Whether it is serving as a conduit of information about and access to important host society institutions or providing the training and information itself, libraries need to do the work of community mapping to make sure their efforts to take care of their city inhabitants truly takes care of all inhabitants.

The social constructionist viewpoint on gays and lesbians, and their information behaviour

Reviewed By: Maria Burton-Conte, Sierra Byrd, Stephanie Frey, Marian Griffin, Melyssa Kimbell, Guadalupe Martinez

Link to article: http://informationr.net/ir/13-4/paper364.html

Blogging Open Access Research

Article Synopsis and International Perspective
Nei-Ching Yeh’s study aimed to explore the information-seeking behavior of gay and lesbian Taiwanese citizens from self-realization to acceptance and beyond. Her study also sheds light on the idea of homosexuality in Asian culture and how that affects its gay and lesbian population. Yeh (2008) found that the Internet was an invaluable source for the lesbians and gay men she studied. In Taiwanese society, homosexuality is still considered “abnormal” and many believe homosexuals do not have as promising a future as their heterosexual counterparts. These beliefs stem from “Taiwanese traditional filial culture which emphasizes the importance of getting married and having children and sees this as corresponding to social norms” (Yeh, 2008, para. 31). Therefore, respondents in the study felt the need to protect themselves when searching for information regarding homosexuality, and the Internet provided a safe haven to do so and remain inconspicuous at the same time. They were also able to seek information that facilitated “self-understanding and representation…used to clarify and affirm their homosexual identity” (Yeh, 2008, para. 47). Sadly, Yeh’s respondents felt that they could not conduct these searches in an actual library. Besides the inability to remain anonymous, respondents also felt that the collections in their libraries relating to homosexuality were limited and outdated. One respondent even felt as though “the homophobic condition [was] still prevalent in Taiwanese libraries” (Yeh, 2008, para. 50).
The results of Yeh’s (2008) study highlighted several key factors that influenced how her respondents set out on their information-seeking journey. The first was “self-awareness” – many young homosexuals consider themselves abnormal until they research what they feel and discover that their feelings are indeed quite normal. This information helps them initially accept their sexual orientation and set them on their next information seeking path, which is to find people they can form a connection with. Other reasons for respondent’s information-seeking behavior included a broadening of their information horizons on homosexuality, to be better informed themselves, and to help educate others.

Core Research Questions
Question 1.
How do those who identify as lesbian and gay develop their knowledge of their orientation?
Question 2.
How do those who identify as lesbian and gay construct meaning of their identity through interactions with others within their community?
Question 3.
What are the information behaviors of lesbians and gay people when they are developing their knowledge of their orientation and community?
Question 4.
What are the information needs of lesbian and gay people when they are developing their knowledge of their orientation and community?

The methodology of this research took a social constructionist viewpoint. Researchers collected data through interviewing participants that had volunteered to be part of the study. These interviews were conducted one-on-one and face-to-face with each interviewee and researcher. The fourteen participants each chose the environment for the interview, which seemed to average between an hour and a half to two hours, covering seven individual questions. Their answers were comparatively analyzed to gain the data used in this research study. In comparing and analyzing this data using the constant comparison approach, the researchers were able to focus on clues that identified information behavior. These clues identified patterns among the participants that indicated how they each went about constructing their world as a member of the lesbian and gay community. The researchers noticed a few patterns that stood out among the responses given and identified three main sections of this discovery and creation process. The analysis of the interview responses illuminated how these participants were able to process social construction and highlighted the role that informational behavior played in that construction as well.

Findings and Conclusions
Yeh (2008) found that a majority in the community were taught that homosexuality was abnormal, and the bias society has against them. The Internet is where most go to learn more about their sexuality and sex but reframe from the library as they see the collections for gay people as outdated and limited. Yeh (2008) has found that accumulation and monitoring are useful for investigating and obtaining information and complement the concept of information seeking. This study also concludes that having a community, whether on the Internet or in-person, as important and can let those who are heterosexual understand this community at a deeper level.

What American Libraries Can Learn
As much as we want to understand how our patron communities configure their identities for themselves and within society, so must librarians define how they perceive identity in others. Furthermore, librarians should consider how those perceptions are related to the quality and impact of their services, considering the ubiquitous nature of the Internet. The Internet allows for libraries to have layers of interactions that allow the individual to control how to present themselves online, i.e., anonymously, with known aliases, etc. The anonymity of the Internet also allows LGBTQ+ people to create virtual spaces to facilitate knowledge production, form meaningful connections with other community members, and freely seek and share information via the network. In particular, the LGBTQ+ community uses the anonymity of the Internet to seek sexual health information; it is important for libraries to offer accurate, inclusive health resources that can be accessed anonymously.
Additionally, many LGBTQ+ patrons seek information online due to the limitations of many traditional library spaces: outdated collection policies, cultural stigma against gay and lesbian people in public spaces, and indiscretion from library staff who may be homophobic or lack the sensitivity training for discretion. Libraries should address these valid concerns by focusing on authentic, diverse collection development and hiring and training culturally competent staff. Although this article comes from the perspective of Taiwanese society, American libraries may still harbor the same ideological blind spots, policy oversight, or have limited control over the stigma that continues for LGBTQ+ patrons in and out of the library. Virtual spaces are ways for the LGBTQ+ community to channel the power to self-educate, build a chosen community, and self-identify to the patrons without the librarians as the middlemen.

Yeh, N. (2008). The social constructionist viewpoint on gays and lesbians, and their information behaviour. Information Research, 13(4). http://informationr.net/ir/13-4/paper364.html