Human information behavior in the context of a personal crisis is the focus of my doctoral research agenda. This work examines the processes of human engagement with information in response to a negative life event. The underlying question of my work is: How does one pursue, search for, evaluate, avoid, dismiss and use information to make a decision and cope in response to a situation that is beyond the realm of everyday life, and is characterized as deeply meaningful, potentially stigmatizing and intensely personal with life-long impact?
Conventional methods of information seeking and information evaluation may be ineffective or unsuitable in coping with an unanticipated and unfamiliar context. Using a phenomenological framework I am exploring how individuals experience and make meaning of information through a personal crisis that carries profound impact.
The specific personal crisis context that I have selected for my doctoral research is that of birthmother, a woman who voluntarily relinquished a child to adoption. How does she seek information to aid in the decision-making process? What information is helpful? What barriers to information does she encounter?
I am currently working on my dissertation proposal entitled Human information behavior, coping and decision-making in the context of a personal crisis: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the voices of birthmothers on relinquishing a child for adoption.
Latest draft here, comments, questions and suggestions are welcome!
User Education: For several years I have taught the graduate level User Education course at SILS, INLS 501. User education takes many different forms across a diverse array of information environments including academic and public libraries, school library media centers, archives and special collections, computer help desks, and all types of medical and special libraries. However the underlying purpose is universally focused on empowering users to effectively access and critically utilize appropriate resources and tools in meeting information needs. Information professionals need the expertise, skills, creativity and confidence to develop meaningful education and training experiences for users.
In this course, we explore learning theory, pedagogy and instructional design, evaluation and assessment methods.
This course provides an opportunity for students to explore, develop and evaluate instruction material and methods targeting an information context of their own interest.
The most recent class website with syllabus and course schedule is available online at http://ils.unc.edu/courses/2013_fall/inls502_001/
- Retrieving and Analyzing Information: For several years I have also taught the undergraduate course, INLS 200 Retrieving and Analyzing Information (recently renumbered to INLS 151), an introduction to and application of the processes that can be used in seeking information, evaluating the quality of the information retrieved, and synthesizing the information into a useful form. Learning outcomes include:
- Consider the meaning(s) and role(s) of information and human information interaction
- Develop an understanding of information retrieval principles and systems
- Expand and enhance your information literacy skills by learning to:
- Clarify and scope specific information needs
- Strategize and construct effective information search plans
- Select appropriate information sources
- Conduct efficient search techniques
- Evaluate information resources for quality and usefulness
- Analyze and incorporate new information in response to the original need
- Develop confidence and expertise in addressing issues of ethics and integrity surrounding the use of information
- Learn about unique and specialized resources available through the University of North Carolina
The most recent class website with syllabus and course schedule is available online at http://ils.unc.edu/courses/2014_spring/inls200_001/index.html