n Mousaion - Development of a conceptual model for studying engineers' information behaviour

Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



The article gives a critical evaluation of the contributions of various authors to a study of the information user in occupational context with the aim of developing a theoretical framework for a study of the information behaviour of the engineer. Theoretical models which are applicable to a study of this user group are analysed, in particular Leckie, Pettigrew and Sylvain's (1996) general model of the information seeking of professionals and Dervin's (1983) sense-making approach. Dervin's (1983) model was found to be useful in determining the contextual information needs of engineers and the outcomes of information-seeking. Leckie et al's (1996) model was used as a theoretical framework for studying the information needs and information-seeking behaviour of consulting engineers in Du Preez's (2008) study since it accommodates the work roles and tasks of the engineer. However, it was found to have several shortcomings. These limitations are addressed in this article in an attempt to clarify various concepts and to include different facets of the information behaviour of engineers in an extensively revised framework. Finally, a theoretical model is put forward that accommodates the various project-related stages in engineering tasks and the personal, work-related and information contexts of the engineer's information behaviour.

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