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Modeling Individual-level Information Behavior: A Person-in-Environment (PIE) Framework

Sei-Ching Joanna Sin

(Submission #34)


This paper has two goals: (1) to introduce the Person-in-Environment (PIE) framework, which the author developed to measure the relative impacts of socio-structural and individual factors on individual information behavior; and (2) to demonstrate PIE’s applicability. An empirical study on the factors of students’ library usage is presented. PIE includes a conceptual framework and a research design. It addresses one of the research gaps in the information behavior area—the shortage of societal-level research. In PIE, individual factors (e.g., cognitive and affective) and socio-structural factors (e.g., information resources distribution) are conceptualized as inter-related. Thus, they need to be tested simultaneously with a multivariate method such as structural equation modeling (SEM). Previously, it was difficult to link individual and socio-structural factors. This is because their units of observation often vary. This author proposes linking diverse datasets with geographic information systems (GIS), using spatial location as the key. PIE is a step toward agency-structure integration. The PIE framework can contribute to theoretical and methodological discussions in information behavior research. This framework also offers scholars and policymakers a way to empirically assess the contributions of information services.


Program Track:  Track 1 - Information Behaviour
Submission Type:  Short Paper

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