Fiction & Information: The Leisure Reading Experience

  • Author / Creator
    Stobbs, Robyn E.
  • The objective of this study was to explore information and its function in fiction reading for leisure through the perceptions and experiences of adult readers. I used a phenomenographic approach to look for qualitative differences in experiences and understandings in order describe the collective experience of the participants and capture variations within that experience. Twenty-three participants took part in various stages of the study and of those seventeen completed participation to be included in the final analysis. Data was collected using two methods: diaries of leisure reading kept for a minimum of two weeks, and interviews. Each participant included in the final analysis completed a diary and then came in for a follow-up interview. The results of my study are in three main areas: conceptualizing information, behaviours, and outcomes.
    Through analysis I was able to describe differing understandings of information in general. These understandings include: information as something that makes a difference, information as coming from the senses, information as stuff that can be collected, information as the smallest pieces of data, information as learning, information as having a use, and information as something that is true. These different understandings are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but they do describe different aspects of the concept of information and contribute to the broader understanding of how readers experience and perceive information. Information in relation to fiction reading may come from the story itself or from outside of it. Participants talked about perceiving and using information in relation to fiction in ways that suggested information can exist on a continuum ranging from information as being separate from the story, to being in the story, to being a part of the story, to making up the entire story. Exploring the participants’ conceptualizations of information gave context to their experiences of information, which I placed in two main categories: behaviours and outcomes.
    Information from various sources is used in a variety of behaviours that are part of the reading process or related to it. Through analysis I found themes relating to these behaviours that fall into the three subcategories of behaviours: selecting/accessing behaviours, making meaning behaviours, and taking away behaviours. The discussion of behaviours is highly interrelated with that of outcomes. Outcomes of reading may be behaviours themselves, may motivate reading behaviours, or have some other effect on readers. The subcategories of outcomes I described through data analysis include: affective outcomes, educational/broadening outcomes, influential outcomes, reflective outcomes, and other outcomes. The results of my study are exploratory in nature and are intended to make a contribution to understandings of information and readers.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2014
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Library and Information Studies
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. 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.