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Journal cover: Journal of Documentation

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Online from: 1945

Subject Area: Library and Information Studies

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Examining information behavior through social networks: An interdisciplinary review


Document Information:
Title:Examining information behavior through social networks: An interdisciplinary review
Author(s):Barbara Schultz-Jones, (College of Information, Library Science and Technologies, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA)
Citation:Barbara Schultz-Jones, (2009) "Examining information behavior through social networks: An interdisciplinary review", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 65 Iss: 4, pp.592 - 631
Keywords:Group dynamics, Information organizations, Information science, Social networks
Article type:Literature review
DOI:10.1108/00220410910970276 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract:

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to review the post-1996 literature of information science and other disciplines for the application of social network theory and social network analysis to research that provides an understanding of information environments.

Design/methodology/approach – The literature review involved a content analysis of 373 articles retrieved from five electronic journal databases offering broad disciplinary coverage, and a selection of nine peer-reviewed electronic access journals in information science. Each database was limited to academic or peer reviewed journals and searched using two query phrases: social network theory (SNT) and social network analysis (SNA).

Findings – The paper demonstrates the growth of interest by information science and other disciplines in research that applies social network theory and utilizes social network analysis, indicating what research approaches and major focus trends differentiate the disciplines.

Research limitations/implications – The search phrases overlook articles using social networks as the only key phrase for indexing. However, the intention was to examine the application of a theoretical concept and specific methodology, so the terms used were appropriate for this purpose.

Practical implications – The paper identifies opportunities to apply social network theory and social network analysis to the study of the exchange of information resources.

Originality/value – The paper demonstrates that information science could advance valuable contributions to an understanding of information behavior using social network theory and social network analysis as a vehicle to connect with a significant body of existing research in other disciplines.



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