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Information-seeking behaviour of physicists and astronomers: an interdisciplinary study.

Jamali Mahmuei, H.R.; (2008) Information-seeking behaviour of physicists and astronomers: an interdisciplinary study. Doctoral thesis , University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

The study of information-seeking behaviour of scientists has been one of the main concerns of librarians and information scientists since mid twentieth century and yet we need to improve our understanding of their information behaviour in order to maximise the efficiency of information services provided. This thesis studies the information-seeking behaviour of physicists and astronomers with an intradisciplinary approach in order to look at similarities and dissimilarities among the subfields within physics and astronomy. The study also looks at the information-seeking behaviour of people with different academic status and investigates the information-seeking activities of physicists and astronomers in different stages of research projects with the focus of the thesis being research related information-seeking behaviour. Moreover, the research investigates reading behaviour and publishing patterns of physicists and astronomers. The study is a mixed-methods study that uses both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The population of the study included the staff and PhD students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy of University College London. Fifty-six face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted, an online questionnaire survey of 114 respondents (out of 242 sample, 47% response rate) was carried out and 88 information-event cards were completed by participants. The findings of the study showed that although some similarities exist in information-seeking behaviour of people in the different subfields of physics and astronomy, each subfield has its own characteristics. Variations were found with regard to different aspects of information-seeking behaviour including the reliance on e-print archives and journal articles, methods used for keeping up-to-date and methods used for identifying articles. The study showed the importance of human information sources and informal communication in the information-seeking behaviour of physicists and astronomers and highlighted the need for and the value of looking at narrower subject communities within disciplines for a deeper understanding of the information behaviour of scientists.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Information-seeking behaviour of physicists and astronomers: an interdisciplinary study.
Identifier: PQ ETD:591583
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest. Third party copyright material has been removed from the ethesis
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Information Studies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1444281
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