An exploration into the information-seeking behaviours of engineers and scientists

Wellings, Susan and Casselden, Biddy (2019) An exploration into the information-seeking behaviours of engineers and scientists. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 51 (3). pp. 789-800. ISSN 0961-0006

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/0961000617742466

Abstract

This article considers findings from Master’s research that investigated the information-seeking behaviours of engineers and scientists in the workplace. The objectives of this research were to establish where engineers and scientists look for information, consider their search preferences and determine the understanding they have of online search engine operation. There is limited current research in these areas looking at engineers and scientists in the workplace. The research was undertaken using a mixed methods research methodology. A survey was conducted with engineers and scientists working in the UK, using an online questionnaire and interviews to obtain quantitative and qualitative data. Due to the small sample size (115: 58 engineers, 57 scientists) this research does not make generalisations about the wider population. The research showed both similarities and differences between engineers’ and scientists’ information-seeking behaviours. The most popular resources used by both engineers and scientists were online search engines, specialist databases and scholar search engines; and the most used sources were from within their own organisation (colleagues and documents). Electronic versions of sources were preferred over print because of their searchability; however, when an item was found it was often printed out to read. Although the main focus of this research was not information literacy it is suggested that there are significant gaps in the understanding of search engine functionality by both engineers and scientists, even though it is the most heavily used resource for information seeking. Whilst this research does not make generalisations about the wider engineer and scientist populations, potential implications for information professionals working with these groups are considered.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Engineers, information-seeking behaviour, scientists, search engine understanding, workplace
Subjects: P100 Information Services
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Computer and Information Sciences
Depositing User: Ay Okpokam
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2017 10:54
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 10:16
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/32649

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