Information seeking and sharing behaviour of a UK police force
2013-10-17T15:20:50Z (GMT) by
We have reached an age of information overload. It is also an age of information empowerment, an age where people are regularly bombarded with information. People have access to far more information than they can possibly handle. Information plays a vital role in people’s lives, as they are constantly challenged to locate the right information that they need in order to make decisions and to complete their tasks. Unfortunately, people often have difficulties in locating relevant information. Early studies on information seeking behaviour show that people searching for information prefer asking other people for advice than searching through a manual. The issue becomes then a matter of searching for the right person. This has led to interest in systems, which connect people to others by making people with the necessary expertise available to those who need it, when they need it. This study aims to undertake a baseline review of how UK police force employees work and in turn provide a better understanding of how to develop IT systems that will support employees in their daily activities. It documents the analysis of a questionnaire survey that looks at how individuals at Leicestershire Constabulary seek information and how they share information once it’s located, in order to determine if an expert locator system would work at their organisation. Results show that officers have difficulties when searching for information. The results give an estimate of the amount of searching time that officers think could be saved by officers if they know where to look for the relevant information and the reasons behind the time being wasted. Moreover, results show that email remains to be the most intensely utilised communication medium, used to help generate, organise, share, or leverage knowledge within the organisation. Although specific websites and online databases were the first sources to be consulted by most officers when searching for information, officers frequently query other peers for references.. The overall results suggest that embracing the concept of an expertise locator at Leicestershire Constabulary could lead to positive outcomes.