The assignments in INFO 200 are meant to build on student knowledge of a community’s information behavior, understanding of peer-reviewed research articles and community-created resources related to the group, and a synthesis of our course content with findings about the community. Blogging and the other major assignments should provide content and insights for the successful competition of the research paper. Content can be remixed and re-used.
For example, this student work focused on women’s health communities below illustrates the path from blogging, through the assignments, to a successful paper.
Sample description of the community:
Although Fisher and Durrance (2003) emphasize the use of the internet in exploiting the information sharing qualities of technology in their definition of information communities, women’s health information communities can be traced back to the pre-internet feminist self- help movements of the 1970s, which valued sharing experiences and information about women’s bodies and healthcare experiences as a way to liberate women from a male-dominated medical system (Howes & Allina, 1994). Present-day women’s health information communities take advantage of the multiplier effects of the internet, and often function either partially or wholly online. They serve as places where women can research and share information about health issues and political issues related to women’s health, and also gain emotional support and connection to other women.
Women’s health information communities serve women of different ages, ethnicities, locations, sexualities, socio-economic statuses, and other variables. Because these differences affect both the types of information needed and the context in which it is needed, it is important to understand how these differences affect women’s information needs and behaviors (Wathen & Harris, 2007).
A review of library and information science literature has shown that I should be able to find adequate scholarly articles about women’s information seeking behavior around the topics of health and healthcare, which I can use to explore how these communities function and serve their users.
Fisher, K., & Durrance, J. (2003). Information communities. In K. Christensen, & D. Levinson (Eds.),Encyclopedia of community: From the village to the virtual world. (pp. 658-661). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc
Howes, J., & Allina, A. (1994). Women’s health movements. Social Policy, 246-14.
Wathen, C. N., & Harris, R. M. (2007). “I try to take care of it myself.” How rural women search for health information. Qualitative Health Research, 17(5), 639-651.
Book Review: Smarter Than You Think (provides understanding of technology use of broader communities, etc)
Research Paper: Women’s Health Information Community (Note: Literature review section is longer than current assignment requirements)
Thanks to INFO 200 student Lucy Palasek for sharing her work.