Becoming a chef: A grounded theory of apprentice chefs’ information literacy practices
There are few studies that investigate the information literacy practices of vocationally trained workers, and none to date that examine how apprentice chefs engage with information in their learning to become a chef. This document presents a research proposal for a study that aims to understand apprentice chefs' information literacy practices. Two overarching questions will be addressed. Firstly, how is the transformation from apprentice to professional chef enabled by information literacy practice? Secondly, how does workplace discourse about culinary practice shape how apprentices and chefs conceptualise information and knowledge?
The proposal commences with a review of the literature primarily from the disciplines of information studies and education. It establishes what is known about how apprentices and chefs engage with information and defines the key concepts of the study. Bateson's (1987) relational definition of information will be used in the study, whereby information is whatever matters to apprentices and chefs, and makes a difference in their workplace practice. Literacy, information literacy and learning are defined as social practices engaged in by people in particular times and contexts.
The study will be framed by site ontology and practice theory and employ a constructivist grounded theory as the research methodology. A sample of 17 apprentices and 8 chefs from restaurants in Melbourne will be interviewed about their information literacy practices and observed while at work. Supplementary data will be sought from apprentices' training workbooks and hospitality competency standards. Memo writing, coding and constant comparative methods will be used in the data analysis. The outcome of the study will be a grounded theory of how information literacy practice enables the transformation from apprentice to professional chef.