Women as information seekers during initial encounters with the World Wide Web
Laura Katherine Brendon, The Ohio State University, United States
The Ohio State University . Awarded
This qualitative study looks at how several women who consider themselves novices tried to learn and develop strategies for finding information on the Web. It draws on four literatures: feminist standpoint epistemologies, writings about women and computer technologies, writings about the concept of information, and studies of information-seeking behaviors. Adopting feminist standpoint epistemologies and simultaneously refusing to essentialize women, helps a researcher pose questions that focus on standpoints of the participants rather than the researcher. The study looks at how western society understands (or ignores) information as a concept.
The methodology used was an instrumental case study. The findings clustered around several observations: how the participants and the researcher interacted with interface technologies, how information was conceptualized, and how concepts of time influenced Web searching. The findings challenge the way that researchers study how people search on the Web. Often research questions and design assume that information-seeking behaviors in the Web environment can be studied similarly to searching behaviors in structured databases. This study argues that the Web is a very different technology and recommends that alternative methodology, such as Brenda Dervin's Sense-Making metatheories, be used in future research. It calls for extending the standpoint studies.
Brendon, L.K. Women as information seekers during initial encounters with the World Wide Web. Ph.D. thesis, The Ohio State University. Retrieved February 22, 2019 from https://www.learntechlib.org/p/122673/.
Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.
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