Joan Bartlett, School of Information Studies
Millennials have been found to rely heavily on information obtained from the web and social networks; but it is also seen that they may not be able to judge the authenticity, validity and reliability of the digital information, and may share misinformation among themselves.
This talk will discuss findings from a broad research program into information-seeking and retrieval among millennials in the context of health and well-being. One aspect is focused on understanding how millennials define their well-being, what information they need or want to support well-being, how they seek, retrieve, evaluate and use that information. The other compares information-seeking and retrieval in the academic and everyday-life (health, leisure, news) domains.
The first phases of this mixed methods research involved a survey of all undergraduate students at McGill University, as well as two series of semi-structured interviews. Findings include an in-depth description of the kinds of information millennials consider important in supporting their well-being, and the range of information-seeking and retrieval strategies they use. The survey results reveal the information sources and search tools that are used, as well as how the credibility of information and sources/tools are judged. Thus far, our results show that while participants are able to identify credible and high-quality information sources, they still choose to use those that are less credible and reliable.
The findings to date indicate a need for reliable and credible health information to be made highly visible, and easy to find and retrieve. The findings also highlight that information-seeking behaviours vary with the information task and domain. This indicates that a single approach to search and retrieval may not be the most effective, and that domain/task specific search systems may be helpful.
Bio: Joan Bartlett is Associate Professor in the School of Information Studies at McGill University, and a member of the McGill Centre for Bioinformatics. Her research focuses on information behaviour and information interaction, particularly in the biomedical domain. She teaches in the areas of biomedical information and information literacy.
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