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Adolescents' Information Behavior when Isolated from Peer Groups: Lessons from New Immigrant Adolescents' Everyday Life Information Seeking

Joung Hwa Koo and Melissa Gross

(Submission #74)


Abstract

Peers are important to adolescents. This salient feature of teenagers—the strong dependence on peers and the relative independence on the adult world—is a natural and important phenomenon in the process of completing their developmental tasks (Scholte & Aken, 2006). In addition, in LIS research, it has been disclosed that teens regard their peers as their favorite and most valuable information source (Fisher et al, 2007; Huges-Hasseel & Agosto, 2007; Meyers et al, 2007).

However, for many reasons, adolescents can find themselves isolated from their peer groups. For example, young immigrant adolescents may find themselves isolated due to differences in culture, language, etc. When this happens, how do they compensate for this lost information source? New immigrant adolescents in the U.S. may experience difficulties in joining established social groups. This can result in a transitional period in which a peer group is unavailable to them. Previous research has shown that peer groups are an important information source for young people. How then, do immigrant adolescents seek information to cope with their social isolation and other stressful life situations?

To respond to these initial questions, this investigation employs intensive interviews with new immigrant adolescents in Tallahassee, FL about their information world—what their daily life is like, how they cope with their daily problems, and how they find and use information sources in their daily life.

The proposed research study will provide an initial understanding of young immigrants’ information behavior in daily life. Therefore, it can help librarians, educators, and other professionals who work with youth. This data will provide input for successful design and delivery of information services and instruction for youth.


  
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