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Navigating the Jungle: An Investigation of Older Adults’ Quests for Governmental Information Open Access


Other title
older adults and government information
seniors and government information
governmental information seeking
information behaviours
information behaviors
orienting information seeking
digital divide
digital government
human information interactions
governmental information interactions
technological information interactions
hybrid information interactions
qualitative research
in-depth interviews
semi-structured interviews
grounded theory
criterion sampling
purposive sampling
snowball sampling
Humanities Computing
Library and Information Studies
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Hoosein, Sophia A
Supervisor and department
Gouglas, Sean (Humanities Computing)
Given, Lisa M (School of Library and Information Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Quamen, Harvey (Humanities Computing)
Rathi, Dinesh (School of Library and Information Studies)
Gouglas, Sean (Humanities Computing)
Given, Lisa M (School of Library and Information Studies)
Humanities Computing
School of Library and Information Studies

Date accepted
Graduation date
2016-06:Fall 2016
Master of Arts/Master of Library and Information Studies
Degree level
Government information interactions are inevitable at many points in our lives; life events and milestones often intersect with the need for governmental programs and services information that will help or facilitate the resulting life transitions. This qualitative research study takes a constructivist approach to examining the nature of governmental information interactions experienced by those age sixty-five or older. Semi-structured, in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with ten older adults from Edmonton, Alberta to explore this issue. A grounded theory analysis of research data reveals that experiencing life events, either by oneself or by proxy of another, and financial planning activities prompt older adults’ governmental information interactions. Data also reveals that participants interact with three government information channels when seeking information: human, technological, and print. Use of government-centric language or jargon and bureaucratic inefficiencies are characteristic of all governmental information channels. Human governmental information interactions are characterized by a need or dealing with the “right” person, identification of the importance of body language and non-verbal cues, reliance on health professionals for information, and the growing instance of hybrid human-technological information interactions. Technological information interactions are characterized by perceptions of instant and infinite information availability and polarized experiences with use of technology to facilitate information seeking. Print information interactions are characterized by use of the phonebook as an information-seeking starting point, engaging in orienting information-seeking activities as part of daily routines, such as reading daily newspapers for generalized information intake, and information invisibility in relation to pertinent government information in print resources. Study results indicate clear trust in the credibility of governmental information despite the often arduous process involved in seeking this kind of information, as well as the disparate nature of older adults’ information behaviours and governmental information interactions spanning human, technological, and print information channels.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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