Information Seeking and Information Needs of Low Income African American Households: Wynnewood Healthy Neighborhood Project

 

Amanda Spink, Martin Jaeckel, Greg Sidberry

School of Library and Information Sciences

University of North Texas

Denton Texas

 


Abstract

 

This paper reports findings from a project investigating the information seeking and information needs of low income African-American households at the Parks at Wynnewood in Dallas, Texas. Three hundred Wynnewood households were surveyed during April-May 1996 regarding their household situation and their need for community and information services. Findings are reported regarding their information seeking behavior, particularly with regard to employment, health, news and security issues. Resident's ’information seeking focused on family and neighbors, with lower use of external channels, except for health information. The inital study is being extended through 50 in-depth interviews with volunteer Wynnewood households. The results of the interviews will be qualitatively analyzed in conjunction with the survey results. Findings from the study will be important, as they constitute the largest study ever conducted on the information needs, gatekeeping roles, and information seeking patterns of low income African-American households. The study will provide a valuable data set on the lifestyle and information behaviors of African-American households and guide the development of an information resource center and information literacy program for Wynnewood Project residents. The overall findings will also be important for the development of theoretical models of information seeking and use.