UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Information World Mapping : A Participatory Arts-Based Elicitation Method for Information Behavior Interviews Greyson, Devon; O'Brien, Heather, 1977-; Shoveller, Jean


Participatory, arts-based methods generate rich data with which researchers can explore information behavior in context, and may be particularly apt when engaging with youth or participants with low literacy levels. Information world mapping (IWM) is an innovative and interactive drawing-based interview technique for data elicitation. Initially developed for use in a study of young parents’ health information practices, IWM guides participants in depicting their personal social information worlds, including items, places, and relationships. Maps are then used to facilitate critical incident elicitation from participants' stories about, and interpretations of, their information practices. Within the young parent study, three styles of map were commonly seen: the directional map, the mind map, and the symbolic map. Use of IWM requires time and ethical care, but the method enables researchers to center participants’ own perspectives on information practices, triangulate data obtained via more traditional methods, and enrich understanding of social information worlds.

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