For most taking this course, the concept of an Information Community is new, and requires a new mental vantage point to reframe our understanding of the communities we encounter every day. For some, identifying and choosing an information community for research might seem a tremendously daunting task, and for others it might seem obvious from the start.
It is important to critically evaluate the community you are considering for its efficacy as a focus for the semester’s work. The community you choose will form the basis for almost all of the assignments in this class so you’ll want to make sure you pick one that interests you and that has a variety of information sources available for you to work from.
INFO 200 Assignment Progression
- Explore this example from a past INFO 200 student to see how assignments build on each other toward the research paper: Assignment Synthesis Example
- For inspiration, check out this list of successfully researched information communities of previous INFO 200 students.
Tips for choosing your community:
- Select a community that interests you, but avoid choosing an information community in which you play an integral role, potentially leading to discussions on common interest rather than research on the information needs and information-seeking behaviors of the community. Researching and synthesizing the information needs and information-seeking behaviors of your focus community requires a balance in objectivity of and affinity for the information community you select.
- Taking an interest in the information community you select will drive your research and fuel your motivation throughout the semester. However, sometimes deep involvement in the chosen community leads to more enthusiast-based discourse rather than objective, academic research related to the community’s information needs and information-seeking behaviors. This includes health-related information communities and fan-based information communities as well as others.
- Select a community that might already be of interest to Information Professionals. Research of a community that has captured the curiosity of other information professionals will yield results more readily than research of an especially obscure community.
- Avoid choosing an information community that is too narrow or obscure to afford substantive data from the literature to be collected in your research, especially as it relates to information needs and information-seeking behaviors.
- Additionally, avoid choosing an information community that is too broad to adequately cover within the scope of the assignments.
- Explore your topic in the Library & Information Science Source (LISS) database or Google Scholar to get a sense of whether any scholarly research has been done on your proposed information community. (For additional helpful resources see:Library and Information Science Guide: INFO 200 (Links to an external site.).
- Be aware of the larger communities under which your information community falls so that you can broaden your research, if necessary.
The following are example questions that you will likely ask and pursue in your research:
- What are the information needs of your chosen community?
- What are the information uses, behaviors and preferences of your chosen community?
- Where do community members look for information, and are they successful?
- Where can they find the information they need or want, and is it accessible to them?
- What are the themes of information-seeking behavior within your focus information community?
- How can the information professional better connect the information community to needed and desirable information?