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Beyond information behaviour: evidence based practice as sense-making in public health

Ford, Jennifer Rose; (2020) Beyond information behaviour: evidence based practice as sense-making in public health. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Recent decades have seen a trend towards evidence based practice (EBP) in public health, which it is thought will ensure improvements in health by emphasising the use of robust evidence. Library and Information professionals can support EBP by understanding the behaviour of their users in relation to evidence. This thesis explores how public health practitioners use information for sense-making in their work. The conceptualisation of sensemaking is derived from Brenda Dervin’s sense-making methodology, which provides a holistic understanding of ‘information use’. This approach is advantageous in supporting conceptualisation of information use as a social and communicative behaviour where views and perceptions of other people affect the behaviour of the individual. This contrasts to the approach taken by previous studies of information behaviour in public health, which have mainly been concerned with use of information services and systems. The thesis addresses research questions on what situations and gaps in understanding are experienced by public health workers, how they use information to make sense of those situations and progress their work, and what barriers they experience during sense-making. Data from semi-structured interviews and vignettes with a group of UK based public health practitioners is analysed using Grounded Theory methods, to create a substantive theory of how sense-making is undertaken by the participants. This theory provides an understanding of how participants perceive, interact with and construct public health evidence. An acceptance of the concept of EBP as a way of interacting with information is found to be the core driver behind the way in which participants interact with information and with other people. EBP integrates elements of participants’ perceptions of evidence and how these perceptions, alongside other elements of knowledge and past experience affect the participants’ ideas about the potential usefulness of information as part of strategies to influence others.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Beyond information behaviour: evidence based practice as sense-making in public health
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > VP: Research
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > VP: Research > Library Services
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10108688
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