Studying collaborative information seeking: Experiences with three methods

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Collaborative information seeking (CIS) has lately produced interesting empirical studies, describing CIS in real-life settings. While these studies explore how and why CIS manifests itself in different domains, discussions about how to study CIS have been scarce. The research area of CIS may, however, benefit from a discussion of methodological issues. This chapter describes the application of three methods for collecting and analyzing data in three CIS studies. The three methods are Multidimensional Exploration, used in a CIS study of students’ in-formation behavior during a group assignment; Task-structured Observation, used in a CIS study of patent engineers; and Condensed Observation, used in a CIS study of information-systems development. The three methods are presented in the context of the studies for which they were devised, and the experiences gained using the methods are discussed. The chapter shows that different methods can be used for collecting and analyzing data about CIS incidents. Two of the methods focused on tasks and events in work settings, while the third was applied in an educational setting. Commonalities and differences among the methods are discussed to inform decisions about their applicability in future CIS studies and, more generally, to foster methodological discussions in CIS research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCollaborative Information Seeking: Best Practices, New Domains and New Thoughts
EditorsP. Hansen, C. Shah, C.-P. Klas
Number of pages19
Place of PublicationBerlin
Publication date2015
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-18541-5
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-18988-8
Publication statusPublished - 2015
SeriesSpringer book series on Computer Supported Cooperative Work

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