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

  • Author / Creator
    Hoosein, Sophia A
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts/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.