AM Posters 2009 START Conference Manager    

Individual differences in source selection behavior: Profile analyses via multidimensional scaling

Kyung-Sun Kim, Eun-Young Yoo, Nahyun Kwon and Sei-Ching Joanna Sin

(Submission #119)


Selection of information sources has been one of the core components of information behavior, as it influences the user’s search behavior and satisfaction of information needs. Interestingly, research findings on the selection/use of information sources suggest that users do not necessarily choose the optimal sources. Furthermore, accuracy of information sources does not seem to be one of the crucial criteria when users select information sources. Since users do not always strive for optimal or accurate sources, the principal questions that must be addressed are “What sources are selected for information?” and “Why?”

The study aims to understand how undergraduate students perceive and use different information sources. In addition, the study investigates how user characteristics influence the selection and use of information sources. Research questions include: (1) how do students perceive and use different sources?, (2) how are the perception and the use of information sources related?, and (3) how are the user characteristics and the source selection/use behavior related? These relationships will be examined through correlations and profile analyses via multidimensional scaling (PAMS). PAMS is a method that can help identify "major" or "prototypical" profiles, which represent a smaller number of normative profile types that reflect the most commonly occurring profiles in a given data set. To identify and illustrate the prototypical profiles of sources perceived by individuals with different characteristics (e.g., high-low self-efficacy, high-low locus of control), PAMS will be used.

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