oa South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science - Information seeking behaviour : a conceptual framework : research article

Volume 72, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-8861



The concepts defining information, information needs, information seeking and information use have undergone significant evolution since they were first introduced. A number of information seeking and retrieval studies seem to focus on these concepts, albeit in different ways. It is widely understood that concepts form the basis for describing and explaining phenomena and processes in a field of study. Within the field of Information Science, many of the concepts used need to be understood in terms of research context, as a variety of meanings can be attached to most concepts. The article specifically aims to review major studies (e.g. Wilson 1981, 1996; Krikelas 1983; Ellis 1989; Kuhlthau 1991) and information searching and retrieval (Ingwersen 1996; Choo, Detlor and Turnbull 1999, 2000) that focus on these concepts for greater clarity and an understanding of their relationship and application in LIS research. This in turn may be of interest to researchers and students within this field. The article concludes that context should be the foundation for any research within this field, with the observation that many of the models discussed describe general information seeking behavior, without catering for variations.

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