Research into information behaviour in the South African context: a preliminary exploration and bibliography: 1980 to date

  • C Stilwell


The article reports on research into information behaviour in the South African context from 1980 to date. While numerous papers have been presented at conferences and published as articles little is available in terms of an overview of the entire body of such research to date. More information is needed on the subjects and contexts of such research; which theoretical models and methods were used and where the gaps in terms of coverage of particular groups lie. This research is based on a systematic review of the literature contained in electronic databases and published proceedings of conferences. Some material from the pre-electronic database era was included. The research is still at an early stage, for example, an extensive listing of theses and dissertations has not been included but rather the focus is on outputs in the form of journal articles and conference papers. The findings reveal an enormous growth in the number of articles and papers from 2000 onwards reflecting a wide array of subjects. Theoretical frameworks are discussed together with some of the influences on information behaviour research in this country as well as the research methods used. Thesis supervisors should be encouraged to publish articles on completed research with their students using structured abstracts which would expedite access to, and the sharing of new research in the field. A listing of theses on information seeking behaviour would enable a more comprehensive examination of the whole body of research to identify approaches and methods in more detail.

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eISSN: 1025-8892