Individual Differences in Information-Related Behaviour: What Do We Know About Information Styles?

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Bawden, D. ; Robinson, L. (2011)

This chapter reviews the study of individual differences in information behaviour; those differences which are not due to demographic factors such as age, gender, education or occupation, but rather to personality factors and to learning and thinking styles. It examines studies of patterns in information behaviour and of personality and similar factors in groups of information-focused occupations, as well as studies which have explicitly sought to relate information behaviour to such factors. The aim of the chapter is to assess how far we have come in being able to identify and measure ‘information style’, a quality different from any other categorisation of personality or of intellectual styles. If this goal were achieved, it would be a valuable concept for the academic study of information-related behaviours, as well as being of practical usefulness for the design of information systems and services, the evaluation of the effectiveness of such systems and the training of users. It could also allow a tailored provision of information, particularly for creative or innovative purposes.
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