Towards a model of information behaviour of a information provider: a mixed methods study.
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Not much is not known about the totality of information behaviours of information providers from among the plethora of library and information science literature. This research aims to describe, categorise and devise a representation of information workers’ experiences as they engage in information behaviours in a health information provider organisation in Scotland. The organisation is a typical example of an information services provider where decision makers constantly strive to improve the quality of their information outputs by attempting to understand the information behaviours of their employees and respond to changes in the external information environment. A model of information behaviour becomes a useful tool for understanding what goes on within the information provider organisation. With pragmatism as its philosophical tether, the qualitatively-driven sequential mixed methods study uses critical incident interviewing within Heideggerian phenomenology and then a questionnaire survey to capture value-adding information behaviours, feeling states as outcomes of information behaviour, and perceptions of internal impact of information behaviour. The research subjects are invited to participate in a respondent validation workshop where a model of provider information behaviour is co-created. The findings reveal 3 core information behaviour types (information acquisition behaviour, information production behaviour and information dissemination behaviour) and 2 associated information behaviour types (multitasking and collaborative information behaviours) in a non-linear relationship. Several positive and negative feelings are identified together with information workers’ perceptions of how their information behaviours impact on the internal information environment of their organisation. The core and associated information behaviours are further categorised and their subtypes are validated on returning to the research participants. Recommendations for practice and further research include introducing Web 2.0 technologies in the provider organisation to enhance information dissemination, reviewing the value of some information activities in the provider organisation, investigating the mechanism of the information behaviour trigger, and further research on the role of feelings and individual characteristics before and after information interactions. The findings provide insights of information interactions of an information provider that make a significant contribution to LIS knowledge.