Tag Archives: new immigrants

Everyday information behaviour of Asian immigrants in South Australia: a mixed-methods exploration

Article Authored By: Safirotu Khoir, Jia Tina Du and Andy Koronios

Reviewed by: Audora Arias, Amanda Limcaco, Karla Noa, Giovanni Padilla and Katherine Pascacio

Link to article: http://informationr.net/ir/20-3/paper687.html#.X5rlClNKjPY

Synopsis and International Perspective
Over the past decade Australia has seen an increase in the number of immigrants with the majority arriving from Asia. Resettling and adjusting to life in a new country is not always easy as it often requires great efforts on behalf of the newcomer. With the growing number of immigrants arriving in Australia it’s important to understand their informational needs and information seeking behaviors in order to facilitate them in the resettlement process. This study used a mixed method approach of surveys, interviews, and photovoice of sixteen participating Asian immigrants living in South Australia to determine their everyday informational needs, seeking behaviors, and information grounds. This study refers to information grounds as the places where immigrants share and exchange information. The research in this study included new immigrants along with longer established immigrants. In terms of information needs the results indicate that new immigrants were most concerned with health care, job vacancies, and citizenship, while longer established immigrants were concerned with information pertaining to furthering education. In the area of information seeking the study was divided into four sources: the internet, interpersonal, mass media, and formal organization. The results show that an overwhelming majority of new and longer established immigrants sought information via the internet. To determine information grounds the study was divided into four categories: virtual, physical, association, and social events. The results indicate that the majority of both new and longer established immigrants used virtual sources to share and exchange information.

This article represents an international perspective in that it researches the immediate and critical concerns of Asian immigrants living in Australia. The studies conducted in this article address some of the most common informational needs of immigrants who are learning to adjust to life in a foreign country. Resettling in a new country is a continuous process which requires continuous examination on behalf of the host country. Through this research an international perspective is provided as a means to help host countries understand how to better serve their immigrant communities. Although this study does not represent the information needs of the entire immigrant population residing in Australia, it does provide an introductory analysis of common informational concerns to enable further detailed research. Perhaps as similar studies are conducted in countries around the globe with varying immigrant groups, hosting countries can gain greater knowledge into the information needs of their immigrant communities resulting in a quicker and more effective resettlement process.

Core research questions
What sorts of information do Asian immigrants need for their settlement in South Australia?
How do Asian immigrants seek information to satisfy their everyday needs?
Where do Asian immigrants usually meet and share information?

Participants were recruited using university email networks and referrals from other participants. The 16 total participants are immigrants from India, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and China living in Adelaide, Australia.

A mixed methods approach of questionnaires, photovoice and interviews were used in this study to provide a fuller picture of information behavior amongst Asian immigrants. Participants were offered either printed or SurveyGizmo.com email questionnaires with questions relating to personal demographics, information needs and behaviors during settlement in Australia. The photovoice method instructed participants to use their camera phones to document photos of their information-related behavior. This allowed for deeper understanding of participants’ points of view and self-representation. A total of 73 photos were collected and categorized into themes by researchers. In person interviews ranging on average from 30 seconds to 1 minute were also conducted. Participants submitted their photos at these interviews and were encouraged to tell stories behind each photo. At these interviews, researchers could also ask clarifying questions regarding earlier questionnaire responses.

Descriptive statistical analysis was used for the questionnaires. Participatory analysis was utilized in 3 phases for the photovoice data. Phases 1 and 2 occurred during the interviews. In phase 1, the images themselves were submitted by the participants. In phase 2, participants contextualized the images by discussing them with the researchers. Phase 3 was conducted after the interviews where researchers codified stories, themes and issues that arose from the transcripts of the interviews. To test reliability of coding, inter-coding consistency was calculated with a second coder checking the coding.

Findings and Conclusions
The findings provided an insight of what information Asian immigrants needed, where, and how they achieved their everyday information needs and where they met and shared their information. In terms of information needs, the results showed how Asian immigrants’ needs changes over time as they settled down in South Australia. In the study, newcomers expressed their information needs were associated with settling in a new country, for instance employment opportunities, how to rent a house, healthcare information, how to improve their English, and good places to meet new people. Finding a job was the most challenging for newcomers, even if they already had working experience before moving to South Australia. Longer-established immigrants were more adapted to this new country than their newcomers’ counterparts and can begin making plans for a better future by contributing to their new society. Some of their information needs consist of furthering their education, planning business ventures, and getting involved in political activities. While their information needs were different, their sources of information were similar. Internet sources (40%), such as Facebook and other websites play an important role in the immigrants’ settlement. In this study, Asian immigrants had access to the Internet via home or other public spaces to satisfy their information needs and did not find any significant obstacles. Asian immigrants also considered interpersonal sources (23%), such as friends, family, and coworkers, to be the second most important information source. As for social spaces, both physical and virtual, plays an important role in the formation of everyday information grounds and information sharing among Asian immigrants. When their specific information needs are met, the smoother the settlement process will be. While this study provides an insight of the information needs/ behaviors of Asian Immigrants, the study has some limitations. Settling into a new country is an ongoing process, which would require research over a longer time span. Even with its limitations, this study provides institutions like libraries an understanding of the information needs of Asian immigrants and how to deliver better services and support.

What American libraries can learn from global practice about designing services for diverse populations
Becoming a great librarian means being able to adapt to patrons’ needs. This includes designing services for diverse populations such as new immigrants. Being that this study focused on the information seeking behaviors of Asian immigrants in South Australia, the results provide a window into the kinds of programs that can be developed for similar groups in the United States.

For instance, results indicate that the immigrant groups main priority was seeking information about health care, job vacancies and citizenship. Therefore, this information can be used to develop library programs in communities that cater to majority immigrant populations.
Librarians can design programs where patrons are given a presentation on local health organizations, how to make a doctor’s appointment or where to go during an emergency. Also, librarians can create bulletin boards with information about local job opportunities. This way, patrons will stay informed and feel like the staff have their interests in mind and build trust in the library.

Citizenship information is also a key concept in the minds of new immigrants trying to assimilate into a new country. Libraries need to always be aware of this fact and provide plenty of materials in their collection to support new immigrant groups. Government related citizenship information pamphlets or other relevant documents should be readily available at the library. Also, items such as books or audiovisual materials in different languages are key to creating a good relationship between immigrants and libraries.
American libraries can learn various methods of designing services for diverse populations. There are resources available on the American Library Association (ALA) website and state websites regarding immigrant information or resources. Additionally, social platforms, literature, community and family information has made these opportunities accessible for everyone especially during times of limited interpersonal interaction.
Cultural appropriation and cultural relevance is imperative in being effective in a diverse community because this cultivates engagement and interaction between organizations, institutions and communities. This sets the foundation in designing programs and services for diverse populations and new immigrant communities. It is holding libraries accountable to their mission and vision statement and implementing ways to equip library staff members and serve communities. Moreover, with technology ever evolving libraries adapt or are learning to provide ways of access for everyone to teach, develop and learn about different cultures and opportunities for individuals. This can be determined through case study, interviews, data collection and observation of a library of how a present library is serving diverse populations and communities.
This article followed up immigrants for various reasons in regards to information behaviour. Global practices can teach American libraries how effective present programs and resources are implemented and utilized in communities. Present times and circumstances have developed social interaction, information resources and learning which can be a disadvantage for patrons and community members who do have broadband access and vital resources. These are times organizations, institutions and libraries can come together to design and implement services that influence everyone.

Investigating and Proffering Solutions to the Information Seeking Behaviour of Immigrants in the United Kingdom

Reviewed By: Sabah Abdulla, Devon Cahill, Catherine Mulligan, Vernon Stephens and Karla Quintero

Link to article: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/2336/

Adekanmbi’s article examines the information seeking behavior of immigrants in the UK with its main focus on asylum seekers. The author’s method of research is a systematic literature review of existing data collected by several researchers who had different findings. The objectives of the study are to: focus on immigrants’ sources of information, analyse their information needs and requirements, investigate the barriers to obtaining information, and investigate the information seeking behavior and determine what can be done to improve access. By the end of the study, the author answers the set research questions and is able to identify the sources and information needs of immigrants to the UK. The author then advises information professionals to adapt to their recommendations to better assist new immigrants with accessing information. This article represents an international perspective in that it helps researchers/information professionals look through a more comprehensive lens and better understand the various immigrant cultures in their communities.

Core research question(s).
New immigrants face many challenges, however, one critical problem is access to information. In response to this, Adekanmbi poses several research questions concerning access for immigrants to free information: Why do they seek access to information? How are they accessing information? And what can be done to improve access for new immigrants? What are their informational needs, for example, for finding housing and employment?
Entering a new country and trying to communicate one’s needs to someone who does not speak the same language creates anxiety. The author’s research shows that new immigrants overcome this obstacle by communicating through their social networks and through friends rather than seeking out city agencies. This is primarily because of the language barrier. Through social networks, they find out where to access trustworthy information to accomplish their goals of attaining goods and services.
What can cities do to improve how they provide new immigrants with access to free and fair information? According to the research, city agencies should keep lines of communication simple. For the author, libraries play an essential role for new people arriving in a new country because information professionals strive to offer free and fair access respectfully.

Adekanmbi’s research questions, analysis, and conclusion are derived from an aggregate of existing research via an extended literature review on the topic rather than original research. The cited resources are selected for their relevance to the three core focuses of the research questions: information needs, information sources, and information barriers of recent immigrants. In the article, both data and anecdotal information are used as the foundation for the thesis and conclusion.

The author describes their approach as “taxonomic description,” which allows for a multi-level categorization of pertinent information beginning with high level concepts (themes) and narrowing down to related sub-concepts. The author chooses this method so that the reader can follow their argument efficiently. Although the author’s focus is immigrant information seekers in the UK, they rely on mostly international findings to formulate their study because little research has been done in the UK.

Interestingly, the author notes that a limitation in this study is the trustworthiness of the methodology of the resources used. It seems obvious, therefore, that a UK specific study is still desperately needed to determine the information seeking behaviors of immigrants there. However, the information collected and analyzed here is a good starting point for such a project.

Findings and conclusions
Information Needs: For Adekanmbi, the recurring informational needs of immigrants in the UK corresponds to health, education, employment, legal/political, and housing. The author divides these into two main groups of information: orienting and problem-specific. Orienting information pertains to the new culture and life in a new country; cultural and religious situations; identity, and other more extensive societal contexts. Problem-specific information consists of language, employment, health, legal, education, recreation, transportation, and banking.

Information Sources: The author finds that new immigrants first seek a trusted person or social networks for easy access and to communicate in person. They use the media or the internet when friends are unable to provide answers. Community organizations and job centers also provide information on policies and procedures and access to the wider community.

Information Barriers: The major constraints that prevent immigrants from getting information are limited access, inadequate language proficiency, structural barriers, and cultural differences. These obstacles stem from a wider context of migrant settlement issues.

The aim of Adekanmbi’s study is to investigate the information seeking behavior of recent immigrants and to propose solutions. The research is based on an analysis of existing data in this field. The author’s findings indicate that, for immigrants, access to information directly influences how quickly they settle into UK society.
What American libraries can learn from global practice about designing services for diverse populations.
Since some immigrants are not used to using libraries in their home countries, outreach and networking with community organizations and possibly other trusted government agencies are essential. Adekanmbi’s findings show that new immigrants are first and foremost looking for someone they can trust to provide the information they need. Hopefully, through successful networking, new immigrants will learn that a library is a place they can trust.
Public libraries in the U.S. and other countries, provide immigrants, particularly asylum seekers, a safe, friendly, and free place to find what they are looking for. Libraries offer free access to the internet and supportive resources, often in an immigrant’s native language, and services that help them not only adapt to their new found home but also guidance and information pertaining to the country they have moved from.

The author lists three steps libraries can take to design services for diverse populations that can apply to any local context: (1) get to know the community you are serving by collecting necessary data, (2) get prepared by tailoring the library’s mission to support multicultural populations, and (3) recognize new opportunities for innovative programs and services the library can provide by communicating respectfully with immigrant populations, assessing what their needs are, and adjusting accordingly.

Adekanmbi, O. F. (2019). Investigating and Proffering Solutions to the Information Seeking Behaviour of Immigrants in the United Kingdom.