The “user turn” in practice: information behaviour researchers’ constructions of information users

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  • Introduction. This study examines how "users" (i.e., research participants) are constructed in the empirical research reported at the ISIC [Information Seeking in Context] conference between 1996 and 2016 (n=194).
    Method. The study uses content analysis to examine variables relating to authorship, research methods, theoretical orientation, participant group, and reporting practices. Qualitative analyses are used to examine construction of research participants through writing practices.
    Analysis. Data are analysed quantitatively and qualitatively.
    Findings. Most authors of empirical papers are academics in information science, the largest proportion of authors work in the U.S., interviews continue to be the most commonly used method, and professionals are the most studied group. The ISIC oeuvre includes many fine examples of respectful construction of research participations, and some examples of less respectful constructions.
    Conclusion. There is significant opportunity for information behaviour scholars to improve the ways in which they write about participants.

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    © the authors, 2018.
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