For many students enrolled in this course, the concept of an Information Community is new. It requires a new mental vantage point to reframe one’s 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 your coursework. 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.
This assignment helper is a step-by-step guide for helping you select the information community you would like to research this semester. Below you will find a list of communities students have successfully researched in the past, as well as numerous tips on how to choose a community. You may be inspired to select a community that has previously been researched, but also know that it is okay to select a community that you find to be interesting and researchable that is not listed below.
INFO 200 Assignment Progression
Tips for choosing your community:
- Select a community that interests you, but avoid choosing an information community in which you play an integral role. This could potentially lead 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 chosen community requires focus and a balance in objectivity of and affinity for the information community you select.
- Being interested and intrigued by 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 a myriad of communities, including health-related information communities, fan-based information communities, and other information communities.
- If possible, select a community that might already be of interest to Information Professionals. If you research a community that has captured the curiosity of other information professionals, your research will yield results more readily than research of an especially obscure community. For example, there has been more academic and peer reviewed research conducted in relation to the Citizen Scientists community than that of the cryptozoologists. Because of this, resources and research relating to Citizen Scientists and their behaviors are more available than information relating to the cryptozoologist community. An obscure online community that was formed during the COVID-19 pandemic is the Seth Meyers’s “Corrections” community, which is a series of YouTube exclusive videos released weekly.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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 in finding information?
- Where can community members find the information they need or want? 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?
Successful Information Communities:
The following are examples of communities INFO 200 students have researched successfully in the past. This list may inspire your thinking as you choose your community, but it does not have to. Previously researched information communities include:
Professional communities (doctors, lawyers, etc)
Harry Potter Fans
Nerdfighters Online Community
Specialty Coffee Professionals
Film Preservation Archivists
Recreational Drone Users
Individuals suffering from chronic illness
Feminist theory and music community
A town or geographic area’s Virtual Information Community
Pikes Peak Genealogical Society
ALA Think Tank
Somali Information Community
Hispanic community (in a specific location)
Historian information community
Film preservation community
Electronic Dance Music fans
Bay Area Riders Forum
Adults Managing Depression
Parents with special needs children
Ham radio operators
Board Game Fans
Prisoner information community
Parents with special needs children
Ham radio operators
Web Sleuths and “Murderinos”
Parents of Children with Disabilities