Information sharing patterns in serious leisure practice: A qualitative study

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation onlypeer-review

66 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents early results of an ongoing research project about Human Information Behaviour (HIB) in the context of Serious Leisure (SL). SL includes a wide range of hobbies, volunteer or amateur activities that people willingly choose to do in their leisure time with a constant dedication during a long period (e.g. coin collectors, bird watchers and amateur photographers). The concept was coined by Robert Stebbins in 1982 (Stebbins, 1982, 1992, 2001, 2004, 2009). Serious Leisure participants passionately engage in SL activities not to gain any profit from it, but just for its own sake. SL typically requires some special knowledge and specific skills that participants learn over a period of time. During recent years, this concept has been explored in numerous contexts including some that specifically address HIB linked to SL such as gourmet cooking (Hartel, 2006, 2010), food blogging (Cox & Blake, 2011), backpackers (Chang, 2009), liberal arts (Hartel, 2014; Jones, & Symon, 2001), coin collecting (Case, 2009, 2010), motor sport enthusiasts (Joseph, 2016), gardening (Cheng, Stebbins & Packer, 2017), urban exploration (Fulton, 2017) and genealogy (Fulton, 2016; Hershkovitz & Hardof-Jaffe, 2017).The primary aim of this project is to gain a deep understanding of people’s information behaviours in SL. A qualitative and naturalistic approach has been used and the collected data from a number of semi-structured interviews has been analysed through Thematic Analysis method (Braun and Clarke, 2006; Castleberrya and Nolenb, 2018). The research population includes people who are involved in at least one form of SL such as a volunteer, hobby or amateur activity. To have a broader perspective, the researcher used a Maximum Variation Sampling method to include people from diverse groups. The results show in all kinds of SL there are multiple information rich tasks and information sharing is a core action in almost every kind of SL studied in this project. Moreover, HIB in SL is usually a profound and pleasurable experience and participants are passionate and well-informed about their favourite topics.Sometimes SL participants do not seek, collect or share information to necessarily solve a problem or satisfy an urgent need. In these cases, they look for information to truly enjoy a hobby or actively contribute in a volunteer job. They also do not always need information for themselves and frequently just share it with others in a community of interest. That is why information sharing is a significant practice in this context. The results also show in addition of conventional information sharing channels such as social media and newsletters, informal channels like face-to-face meetings and personal chats are also important in this area. Furthermore, they usually share and create information in ‘Information Grounds’ (Fisher & Naumer, 2006). The patterns identified in this study indicate that information sharing in SL context has several unique characteristics which make it considerably different from other environments such as everyday life, work-based or educational settings.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventResearch Applications in Information and Library Studies (RAILS) - Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture and St Mark’s National Theological Centre, Canberra, Australia
Duration: 28 Oct 201929 Oct 2019


ConferenceResearch Applications in Information and Library Studies (RAILS)
Abbreviated titleTowards critical information research, education and practice
OtherRAILS is the Australasian conference on Research Applications in Information and Library Studies, the main gathering in Australasia for academic and practitioner researchers and educators in information studies and related disciplines, including librarianship, archival science, and social and community informatics. RAILS has been held annually since 2004. The 15th RAILS conference will be hosted by the School of Information Studies of Charles Sturt University and held at CSU’s Canberra Campus from 28-29 October 2019. The conference will also incorporate the Australasian Information Educators’ Symposium (AIES) 2019.
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Information sharing patterns in serious leisure practice: A qualitative study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this