Unexplored territory: Information behaviour in the fourth age

Terryl M. Asla, Kirsty Williamson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    Abstract

    Introduction. World population is ageing at unprecedented rate. Little is known about the information behaviour of persons in the fourth age (also known as ill-derly or disability zone), most of whom are very old. The study explored the everyday life information needs of these people, the sources and processes they used to meet those needs, and their continuing ability to use computers and the Internet for meeting those information needs. Method. Employing an interpretivist/constructivist worldview, this two-year, largely qualitative study employed semi-structured interviews and observation to study the information behaviour of 25 participants residing at two independent-living retirement communities. Analysis. Interviews were taped and transcribed; observation notes were taken and transcribed. The interview transcripts and observation notes were analysed for themes and categories. Results. The major information needs were: the health and wellness of themselves and their families and friends, pharmaceuticals, personal income and finance, assistive devices, safe mental challenges, legal matters, consumer goods, and benefits and services. Information sources included: caregivers, intimate social networks, wider social networks, mass media, small world sources, and outside professional and institutional sources. Proxy information seekers became increasingly important. Conclusions. Information needs, sources and processes inevitably decline as individuals proceed through the fourth age. However, by providing opportunities to engage in favoured activities and offering outside support, that decline can often be slowed or even temporarily reversed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages12
    JournalInformation Research: an international electronic journal
    Volume20
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015

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    social network
    interview
    world population
    worldview
    mass media
    retirement
    pharmaceutical
    caregiver
    everyday life
    finance
    disability
    Internet
    income
    human being
    ability
    health
    community

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    title = "Unexplored territory: Information behaviour in the fourth age",
    abstract = "Introduction. World population is ageing at unprecedented rate. Little is known about the information behaviour of persons in the fourth age (also known as ill-derly or disability zone), most of whom are very old. The study explored the everyday life information needs of these people, the sources and processes they used to meet those needs, and their continuing ability to use computers and the Internet for meeting those information needs. Method. Employing an interpretivist/constructivist worldview, this two-year, largely qualitative study employed semi-structured interviews and observation to study the information behaviour of 25 participants residing at two independent-living retirement communities. Analysis. Interviews were taped and transcribed; observation notes were taken and transcribed. The interview transcripts and observation notes were analysed for themes and categories. Results. The major information needs were: the health and wellness of themselves and their families and friends, pharmaceuticals, personal income and finance, assistive devices, safe mental challenges, legal matters, consumer goods, and benefits and services. Information sources included: caregivers, intimate social networks, wider social networks, mass media, small world sources, and outside professional and institutional sources. Proxy information seekers became increasingly important. Conclusions. Information needs, sources and processes inevitably decline as individuals proceed through the fourth age. However, by providing opportunities to engage in favoured activities and offering outside support, that decline can often be slowed or even temporarily reversed.",
    author = "Asla, {Terryl M.} and Kirsty Williamson",
    note = "Includes bibliographical references.",
    year = "2015",
    month = "3",
    language = "English",
    volume = "20",
    journal = "Information Research",
    issn = "1368-1613",
    publisher = "Thomas Daniel Wilson",
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    Unexplored territory : Information behaviour in the fourth age. / Asla, Terryl M.; Williamson, Kirsty.

    In: Information Research: an international electronic journal, Vol. 20, No. 1, 03.2015.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Unexplored territory

    T2 - Information behaviour in the fourth age

    AU - Asla, Terryl M.

    AU - Williamson, Kirsty

    N1 - Includes bibliographical references.

    PY - 2015/3

    Y1 - 2015/3

    N2 - Introduction. World population is ageing at unprecedented rate. Little is known about the information behaviour of persons in the fourth age (also known as ill-derly or disability zone), most of whom are very old. The study explored the everyday life information needs of these people, the sources and processes they used to meet those needs, and their continuing ability to use computers and the Internet for meeting those information needs. Method. Employing an interpretivist/constructivist worldview, this two-year, largely qualitative study employed semi-structured interviews and observation to study the information behaviour of 25 participants residing at two independent-living retirement communities. Analysis. Interviews were taped and transcribed; observation notes were taken and transcribed. The interview transcripts and observation notes were analysed for themes and categories. Results. The major information needs were: the health and wellness of themselves and their families and friends, pharmaceuticals, personal income and finance, assistive devices, safe mental challenges, legal matters, consumer goods, and benefits and services. Information sources included: caregivers, intimate social networks, wider social networks, mass media, small world sources, and outside professional and institutional sources. Proxy information seekers became increasingly important. Conclusions. Information needs, sources and processes inevitably decline as individuals proceed through the fourth age. However, by providing opportunities to engage in favoured activities and offering outside support, that decline can often be slowed or even temporarily reversed.

    AB - Introduction. World population is ageing at unprecedented rate. Little is known about the information behaviour of persons in the fourth age (also known as ill-derly or disability zone), most of whom are very old. The study explored the everyday life information needs of these people, the sources and processes they used to meet those needs, and their continuing ability to use computers and the Internet for meeting those information needs. Method. Employing an interpretivist/constructivist worldview, this two-year, largely qualitative study employed semi-structured interviews and observation to study the information behaviour of 25 participants residing at two independent-living retirement communities. Analysis. Interviews were taped and transcribed; observation notes were taken and transcribed. The interview transcripts and observation notes were analysed for themes and categories. Results. The major information needs were: the health and wellness of themselves and their families and friends, pharmaceuticals, personal income and finance, assistive devices, safe mental challenges, legal matters, consumer goods, and benefits and services. Information sources included: caregivers, intimate social networks, wider social networks, mass media, small world sources, and outside professional and institutional sources. Proxy information seekers became increasingly important. Conclusions. Information needs, sources and processes inevitably decline as individuals proceed through the fourth age. However, by providing opportunities to engage in favoured activities and offering outside support, that decline can often be slowed or even temporarily reversed.

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    JO - Information Research

    JF - Information Research

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    ER -