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Everyday information needs and information sources of homeless parents

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Julia A Hersberger, Associate Professor (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: Homelessness has been a problem in the United States since Colonial times. This study frames the homeless as an information user population and examines the everyday information needs and information sources of homeless parents. The underpinning assumption is that people in their everyday lives are assessing their information needs in order to maintain or improve their everyday living situations. Methodologically, extended periods of participant observation and in-depth, open-ended interviews were utilized to gather rich, descriptive data. Twenty-eight residents in the six family shelters were interviewed to gather data concerning everyday problems, needs, information needs and information sources. The interview transcripts were content-analyzed using an established analytic scheme of everyday information needs. Informants utilized social network connections as primary information sources while media sources were perceived as less useful. Findings identify everyday problems, needs, information needs and information sources. An interesting finding of the study is that the complex nature of the problem leads to interconnected needs that must be dealt with in certain sequences in order for the primary problem to be solved. An important conclusion of the study determined that homeless parents rely on information networking rather than information systems.

Additional Information

Publication
The New Review of Information Behaviour Research: Studies of Information Seeking in Context, 2, 119-134
Language: English
Date: 2001
Keywords
homeless, information needs, parents, information sources