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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The information seeking experiences of the post-secondary distance/online student Black, Nancy Elizabeth


Understanding the information seeking experiences of distance/online learners is important because it sheds light on information seeking behaviour of distance learners, builds awareness about the phenomenon, and provides insights for practitioners, but there has been little prior research on this topic. This qualitative investigation builds on Library and Information Studies (LIS) information seeking research, framed by ideas associated with hermeneutic phenomenology as the theoretical framework. The results of this study showed the ways in which participants’ perceptions and attitudes influenced their information seeking behaviour. Among the findings, five stand out as being particularly revealing about the participants’ information seeking behaviour: the high value placed on time (and the relational dynamic of time with motivation, domain knowledge, and source preference); the Dunning-Kruger Effect; perceptions about librarians, library resources and services; the connection made by participants between technological aptitude and searching success/outcomes; and searching experiences that contributed to altered or transformed searching behaviour. The findings of this study are presented in five dimensions reflective of the descriptive and the interpretive range of the phenomenon of participant information seeking experiences: 1) Profile; 2) Essence; 3) Sense-Making; 4) Barriers; and 5) Transformation. The conclusions drawn from the study findings provide insights about the phenomenon of information seeking experiences and behaviour of distance/online learners and suggest changes to practice.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada