Type of Document Dissertation Author Koh, Kyungwon Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-07182011-205503 Title Proposing a Theoretical Framework for Digital Age Youth Information Behavior Building upon Radical Change Theory Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Communication, School of; Communication Science and Disorders, School of; and the Library and Inform Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Eliza T. Dresang Committee Chair Don Latham Committee Member Kathleen Burnett Committee Member Lisa Tripp Committee Member Valerie Shute University Representative Keywords
- Youth Information Behavior
- Sense-Making Methodology
- Content Analysis
- Information Seeking
- Information Use
- Radical Change Theory
- Digital Media
- Qualitative Research
Date of Defense 2011-06-16 Availability unrestricted AbstractContemporary young people are engaged in a variety of information behaviors, such as information seeking, using, sharing, and creating. The ways youth interact with information have transformed in the shifting digital information environment; however, relatively little empirical research exists and no theoretical framework adequately explains digital age youth information behaviors from a holistic perspective. In order to bridge the empirical and theoretical gaps in the field of Information Behavior, this study seeks to create a theoretical framework of digital age youth information behavior by applying and further developing the theory of Radical Change.
Adopting the Theory to Research to Theory strategy, Radical Change Theory guided development of the research questions and the research design incorporated the theory to provide structure to the systematic data collection and analysis; finally, the theory was informed and modified by the study results. The two-phase qualitative research design included Phase I: content analysis of research literature and Phase II: Sense-Making Methodology (SMM) group and individual interviews with youth.
In Phase I, the researcher conducted Directed Qualitative Content Analysis using Radical Change Theory, a technique that attempts to minimize potential bias by the pre-selected theoretical framework. Phase I results identified key patterns of contemporary youth information behavior reported in 40 cross-disciplinary research literature that covers a range of contexts. Phase II was implemented to test the findings from Phase I and to add new insights from the perspectives of youth. In Phase II, 12 young adults who engage in active digital media practices using Scratch, a graphical programming language, participated in either group or individual interviews. The SMM interview technique elicited innovative information behaviors embedded in the participants’ collaborative information creation practices in the digital environment, such as interactive magazine production and youth initiated development of both an online media library and a Wiki website.
The study findings deepen current knowledge on the ways contemporary youth who have grown up immersed in digital media culture interact with information. The primary result of the study is the development of a typology of digital age youth information behavior that refines and further develops the original Radical Change Theory. The typology suggests a holistic perspective for observing youth information behavior as an interplay between various factors, including young people’s (1) intrapersonal processes, (2) identity formation and value negotiation, and (3) social interactions. It also presents 14 specific characteristics related to these factors that operationalize key concepts of Radical Change Theory.
The exploratory study provides theoretical, empirical, and practical contributions to the field. It suggests that the enhanced Radical Change Theory with the newly added typology serves as a holistic framework that explains dynamic digital age information behaviors that are embedded in young people’s activities at home, schools, public places, and online. The typology created in this study will become an instrument that can be utilized in future research further investigating digital age youth information behavior. Also, by expanding knowledge about the changing nature of youth information behavior, the potential impacts of the study include developments of relevant library and information services, information policies, and other educational approaches that better match digital age young people’s unique patterns and approaches to information.
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