Toward a Social Framework for Information Seeking

Authors: Eszter Hargittai and Amanda Hinnant

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Citation: Hargittai, E. & Hinnant, A. (2005). Toward a Social Framework for Information Seeking. In New Directions in Human Information Behavior. Edited by Amanda Spink and Charles Cole. New York: Springer. 55-70.


In this chapter we focus on new directions in the development of a social framework for understanding the information behavior of well-targeted groups in society. That is, we explore how one’s social positioning influences one’s information behavior which, in turn, influences the information-seeking behavior of the populations studied. We concentrate especially on human information behavior (HIB) through information technologies, but base our discussion in a more general framework of HIB encompassing other sources. We integrate work from information science, sociology and other disciplines to argue for a more holistic approach to the study of HIB. We outline both conceptual and methodological challenges facing the field of HIB and, for each, suggest specific directions for future research.


  • Introduction
  • Chapter Roadmap
  • Conceptual Framework
    • Social Attributes
    • Context of Information-Seeking Behavior
      • Autonomy
      • Social Support
      • Goals and Purposes
  • Methodological Framework
    • New Methods of Data Collection
    • More Diverse Populations
    • New Measurements
      • Skill and Digital Literacy
      • Autonomy
      • Social Support
    • Concerns Regarding Measurement Validity
  • Conclusion
  • References

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