Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Information Practices: Exploring People’s Activities in Context

The intention of the Information Practices (IP) Research Program Area is to be inclusive of the variety of research approaches that take people's experiences with information as the central point of focus for empirical studies and theoretical investigations. Such studies include those labelled information-seeking, information literacy, web searching, web usability, information access, or a host of other terms that represent people-focused research agendas within the broader Information Studies discipline.

The goal of the IP program is to efficiently and effectively build capacity for the development of research projects, leading to new knowledge in the area of information practices. The group

  1. extends the range of projects taking an information literacies approach, and 
  2. adds to the breadth of the IP area by creating new research agendas and research projects in such areas as web searching, health information behaviours and internet design practices, among others. 

In general, the IP research program area is shaped by its exploration of the following questions:

  • What are the information practices in which people engage?
  • How are these practices shaped by the various contexts in which people engage with information?
  • What theoretical frameworks can inform our understanding of information practices, across the discipline?
  • How can we, as information studies scholars, best engage in studies of information practices across disciplines (i.e., in collaboration with scholars in health, humanities, arts and the social sciences)?

At present, there are two research groups within the IP Area:

Through a collaborative focus, the Information Practices group supports the University's commitment to research by focusing members' strengths in internationally recognised areas.  Through informative and inspiring seminars, deep discussion, and submersion in a collaborative research culture, the group promotes members' capacity to conduct high quality research. The group engages with the University strategic direction and the Faculty plan for achieving the goals of increased research publications and applications for grants, as well as improving the quality of research through collaboration and a stronger research culture.

In 2011, the group received $60,000 from the Faculty of Education to forward the agenda of the Information Practices group. Funding was designed to support a cohesive approach to research and the beginning of a long-term plan for early-career, mid-career and senior scholars within the IP program. It also provided opportunities for collaborative activities across the other program areas in the Information Studies Research Priority Area. The funding has supported workshops, an international visiting scholar, writing retreats and other key activities to encourage journal and conference publications and grant applications. The program plan contributes to the research capacity of IP members by providing targeted support for the development of research grant applications, publications, conference presentations, and other research activities. It forms the basis for ongoing, long-term empirical and theoretical explorations of information practices.