A snapshot of information-seeking behavior literature in health sciences: a bibliometric approach.

Author:Abubakar, Ahmed Bakeri


Information-seeking behavior is an important LIS concept. It deals with behaviors and actions exhibited by human beings in their search for information to satisfy diverse information needs. Wilson (2008) says that, "Information seeking behavior is the purposive seeking for information as a consequence of a need to satisfy some goal. In the course of seeking the individual may interact with manual information system (such as newspapers or library) or with computer based system (such as the WWW)." It is important to study the information-seeking behavior of particular groups of people, order to serve them better. Bibliometrics is a flexible and growing research methodology that lends itself to many approaches. Author productivity, contextual analysis, citation analysis, data clustering, bibliographic coupling, etc., are some of the multiple approaches of bibliometrics as a research method. Exploring collaboration in research is another fruitful approach. Yazit and Zainab (2007) hold the view that, "collaboration encourages author productivity and enhances the quality of articles." This study uses a snapshot modality. Wilson (2006) says that, "much information (seeking) behavior research is of a 'snapshot' character exploring a situation at a particular point in time."

Information-seeking behavior differs significantly according to background, culture, conditions, needs, and requirements. It is difficult to predict the actual behavior that a person might exhibit in a quest for information. In order to understand the behavior of human beings better, there is a need for multidisciplinary research using multidimensional approaches. Health science is a vast discipline that uses information extensively. Stokes (2008) says that, "Nurses handle information all the time, including processes from patient counseling through recording of care reflection practice, with increasing emphasis on evidence based practice; with the growth of web 2.0, nurses will need to work with fellow professionals and patients in different ways, and nursing students will need to acquire more and more sophisticated information seeking skills to cope with the new roles." Up-to-date information is very important. Many journal articles, papers, reports, and case studies are written in this area. This paper will explore bibliometrically and create a snapshot of information seeking behavior in the health sciences. The range of the study is the years 2000-2007. In looking at the distribution of the papers and sources of information in this literature, Bradford's law of scattering of information sources is applied to this data.

A lot of bibliometric researches use Bradford's Law to study particular phenomena. Some of these researches...

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