Information Seeking Behaviour and User Surveys for Information Services

Teaching Staff: Lavranos Charilaos
Course Code: ARC300
Field: General Core
Course Type: Compulsory
Course Level: Undergraduate
Course Language: Greek
Delivery method: Face to face
Semester: 4th
Total Hours: 3
E Class Page:
Short Description:

The course addresses the significance and the role of users' information needs satisfaction as well as information seeking behavior as a starting point for the development and provision of Information Services. Therefore, students are encouraged to understand the importance, the principles and the methods of informational seeking behavior in Information Services through the following prevalent thematic topics: definitions, basic theories and models of information seeking behaviour, mechanisms for formation and identification of information needs, user motivation to seeking information, user preferences among information resources and channels, as well as intervening variables when seeking information. Furthermore, the course deals with methods for information seeking behaviour user studies grounded on Wilson's macro-model as it is applied within specific socio-economic roles and circumstances.

Objectives - Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of the course, the students will be able to:

  • Understand the concepts of information, information needs, and information behavior in the context of social and work roles
  • Understand the importance of users’ information needs satisfaction and studying information seeking behaviour in the context of specific social and work roles
  • Understand the importance of information and information seeking behaviour in the development and provision of innovative Information Services.
  • Understand a number of important concepts related to information behaviour, such as information literacy etc.
  • Understand basic theories and explanatory models of information seeking behaviour.
  • Employ Wilson's macro-model of information seeking behaviour in socio-economic roles.
  • Participate in the design of information seeking behaviour user survey within various contexts.

Week #1: Course content overview and clarifications for student assessment and evaluation

Week #2: Historical overview and typical scenarios (exemplars) of information seeking behaviour

Week #3: Current research results on the importance of information seeking behaviour – course motivation (Why studying users’ Information seeking behaviour?)

Week #4: The principles and basic concepts of information seeking behaviour

Week #5: The concepts of information needs, motivation for information seeking and information utilization

Week #6: Related to information seeking behaviour concepts: Information literacy – Information seeking for enhancing decision making at organizational and individual level

Week #7: Related concepts: Non-intended / unstructured information seeking – serendipity – information avoidance – selective information seeking

Week #8: Models and theories of Information Seeking Behaviour

Week #9: Wilson's Information Behaviour Model

Week #10: Metatheories focusing of Information Seeking Behaviour based on the theory of "Uncertainty Reduction"

Week #11: Designing information seeking behaviour user surveys

Week #12: Methodology & stages of information seeking behaviour user surveys

Week #13: Information Seeking Behaviour research specific on specific socio-economic roles – Course Summary

Suggested Bibliography:
  • Bawden, D. (2006). Users, user studies and human information behaviour: A three-decade perspective on Tom Wilson's “On user studies and information needs”. Journal of Documentation, 62(6), 671-679.
  • Case, D. (Ed.). (2012). Looking for information. Emerald Group Publishing.
  • Kostagiolas, P.A. & Korfiatis, N. & Kourouthanasis, P. & Alexias, G. (2014), “Work-related factors influencing doctors search behaviors and trust toward medical information resources”, International Journal of Information Management, 34(2): 80-88
  • Kostagiolas, P.A., Martzoukou, K., Georgantzi, G. & Niakas, D.(2013). “Information seeking behaviour of parents of paediatric patients for clinical decision making: the central role of information literacy in a participatory setting”, Information Research, 18(3) paper 590. [Available at]
  • Kostagiolas, P. A., Lavranos, C., Korfiatis, N., Papadatos, J., & Papavlasopoulos, S. (2015). Music, musicians and information seeking behaviour: a case study on a community concert band. Journal of Documentation, 71(1), 3-24.
  • Wilson, T. D. (1999). “Models in information behaviour research”. Journal of documentation, 55(3), 249-270.
  • Wilson, T. D. (2000). “Human information behaviour”. Informing science, 3(2), 49-56.
  • Wilson, T. D. (2006). “On user studies and information needs”. Journal of documentation, 62(6), 658-670.
Teaching Methods:

The course includes lectures and workshops. Within the course modern teaching tools and techniques are employed – an asynchronous platform with coursework material, continuous assessment, creation of working groups, etc. is utilized. Furthermore, a number of hourly lectures with invited speakers on subjects related to the course are organized. 

New Technologies:


Evaluation Methods:

Compulsory Exams as well as provisional coursework tasks are available to students (the tasks and essays always announced at the beginning of the semester). A Lesson Planning Guide is provided for the course.


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