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Information in social practice: Information-related activities engaged in by engineers
University of Borås, Faculty of Librarianship, Information, Education and IT.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Information i social praktik : Ingenjörers informationsrelaterade aktiviteter (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

In this study information-related activities engaged in by engineers during work task performance in the research and development centre at Sandvik Materials Technology AB are investigated. The purpose of the present study was to identify and achieve an understanding of the information-related activities performed by engineers during work task performance in a corporate context. The work task performance in focus is the task of writing a technical report.The study rests on methodological triangulation through the use of a work task diary, a semi-structured questionnaire and focus groups. In total 16 engineers participated in the study. The theoretical framework is based on theories of information in social practice, the information seeking process and the concept of task.The study presents results showing that engineers work in a highly complex information environment and their work task performance is to a high degree affected by situational attributes such as previous experience, type of work task, time, target group, and access to information. The results show that the information sources preferred by engineers have not changed over time; rather a change is seen in the type of sources. There is a distinct increase in the use of electronic sources; which in turn seem to affect the way engineers perceive accessibility. The study also shows that there are evident situational and contextual attributes affecting the information-related activities. Information needed to perform a work task is strongly related to data retrieved from experiments. There also seems to be an embedded tolerance for a low scientific level in technical reports, even though the scientific practice is the norm.This study also shows that the concept of work task forms a relevant basis for studies of information-related activities, particularly in combination with theories on information in social practice. The model of the work task process combined with a faceted classification of work tasks provides a sound methodological tool for the analysis of work tasks in different contexts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
engineers, information-related activities, work task, task diary, focus group, information practice, information in social practice
National Category
Information Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-443OAI: diva2:840449
Subject / course
Library and Information Science
Available from: 2015-07-09 Created: 2015-07-08 Last updated: 2015-11-18Bibliographically approved

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