Factors relating to problems experienced in information seeking and use: Findings from a cross-sectional population study in Finland

Stefan Ek

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Introduction. This study reports findings of a survey that examined how people experience difficulties in relation to six various aspects of purposive information seeking.Method. The data were procured through distributing a questionnaire to a representative cross-section consisting of 1500 Finnish citizens aged 18–65 years. Analysis. The data were analysed by an exploratory factor analysis and ANOVA F-tests for means.Results. There was a clear division between concrete, distinct problems and abstract, vague problems in different phases of people’s purposive information seeking. The former problems were perceived to be much easier to cope with compared to the latter. Socioeconomic status was associated with concrete, distinct problems: higher education and disposable income, as well as being currently employed, correlated with fewer reported problems. Socioeconomic status was not significantly associated with abstract, vague problems.Conclusions. With respect to socioeconomic differences, perceived concrete, distinct problems in purposive information seeking were in line with patterns reported in earlier research where socioeconomic status in general is found to be a major predictive determinant. But on the other hand, the findings pertaining to more abstract, vague problems in purposive information seeking did not follow well-established patterns; hence, socioeconomic status was not a predictive factor.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)
JournalInformation Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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