|ASIS&T 2006||START Conference Manager|
While many researchers have acknowledged uncertainty can have positive effects, there is very little research detailing these positive impacts and analyzing the potential interplay between positive and negative experiences of uncertainty. The investigation presented in this poster seeks to fill this gap by exploring the dynamic interplay between positive and negative forms of uncertainty in information seeking and research activities.
This study draws on two years of ethnographic field work involving two scholars engaged in the discovery, evaluation, use and generation of information and knowledge as part of their own ongoing research work. Analysis of informants’ experiences raises interesting questions about how much uncertainty scholars may be prepared to tolerate in their searching and wider research activities. What allows some challenges associated with uncertainty to be welcomed as signs informants were getting somewhere in their work rather than as anxiety-laden obstacles? To begin to answer this question, uncertainty observed in informants’ experiences was charted in relation to the stages of information seeking as portrayed by Kuhlthau (2004) and Vakkari(1999). For the conference, the extended short paper/poster will include an expanded version of the table presented in this submission that analyses the positive and negative forms of uncertainty that contributed to informants’ research and information seeking success. It will also include samples from informants’ comments to illustrate outward signs of uncertainty such as expressions of doubt, ambiguity, indecision or a lack of confidence in making a judgment.
This study suggests that tolerating uncertainty serves a critical function in innovative or cutting-edge research and therefore warrants support in information systems design. The holistic experience of both the positive and negative forms of uncertainty shape a searcher’s ability to tolerate challenging encounters within their information and research processes. Acknowledging this complex positive-negative blend has implications for system design. Process-oriented analyses like the study presented here can contribute to system support for uncertainty tolerances by informing the design of customized system responses.
|START Conference Manager (V2.52.6)|