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Information hippies, Google-fu masters, and other volunteer tourists in Thailand: information behaviour in the liminoid Open Access


Other title
information behaviour
culture shock
social positioning theory
volunteer tourism
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Reed, Kathleen
Supervisor and department
Julien, Heidi (Library and Information Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Given, Lisa (Library and Information Studies)
Ruecker, Stan (Humanities Computing)
Humanities Computing - Library and Information Studies

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts and Master of Library and Information Studies
Degree level
Using social positioning theory and the concept of the liminoid, the objectives of this qualitative research project were three-fold: 1) investigate how social positioning affects the information behaviour of volunteer tourists; 2) determine what effects cultural confusion (aka “culture shock”), physical location, gender, technical skill, and previous intercultural education and/or experiences have on the information behaviour of volunteer tourists; and finally, 3) suggest how non-governmental organizations can use the research findings to assist volunteer tourists to successfully undertake their placements. These questions were explored through observation and semi-structured interviews with fifteen volunteer tourists in Thailand. Previous travel experience proved to be a significant predictor of participants’ information behaviour. Volunteer tourists reported more consciousness of the embodiment of information and the concept of face than they did at home. The results emphasize the importance of developing a theory of liminoidal information behaviour, in order to explore how people in the liminoid – a place between cultures where identities are often suspended – interact with information.
License granted by Kathleen Reed ( on 2010-04-15T18:06:52Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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