Loughborough University
Thesis-2010-Smith.pdf (1.05 MB)

Young people: a phenomenographic investigation into the ways they experience information

Download (1.05 MB)
posted on 2010-09-16, 08:27 authored by Marian Smith
This study investigates the ways young people experience information. Having an understanding of what information means to young people is important for educators and library and information science (LIS) professionals if they are to develop information literacy skills in young people. To date the literature has revealed that scant attention has been paid to this area. This research study addresses a gap in the knowledge. The study used a phenomenographic research approach to elicit and describe the qualitatively different ways in which young people experienced information. A purposeful sample of forty one young people aged eleven to eighteen years participated in the study. The data, which were gathered through drawings and semi structured interviews, were subjected to a rigorous process of phenomenographic analysis. The outcome of phenomenographic analysis is an outcome space consisting of a finite set of categories of description which, with their relationships, explain the different ways people experience phenomena in the world. In this study six ways of experiencing information were identified: knowledge of sources of information; receiving information; process of finding information; store of unprocessed information; processing information; and use of information. The findings highlighted the fact that young people thought about information to a degree that has not always been acknowledged. In addition the findings challenged a number of commonly held assumptions, which have in the past invited criticism, for instance young people’s attitude to ‘cutting and pasting’ information and their poor evaluation of academic information. The findings also revealed a previously unrecognised type of information behaviour described in sub-category A of Category Two, ‘receiving information knowingly’. As a result of this research a more comprehensive picture of the way young people experience information to that currently available has been revealed, however the research also revealed the incompleteness of this picture and suggests the need for further research.



  • Science


  • Information Science


© M. Smith

Publication date



A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

EThOS Persistent ID



  • en

Usage metrics

    Loughborough Theses


    Ref. manager