Information behavior patterns: A new theoretical perspective from an empirical study of naturalistic information acquisition

Lo Lee, Melissa G. Ocepek, Stephann Makri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This empirical study offers a new theoretical perspective in information behavior research by identifying interrelationships between certain information behaviors. While previous work recognizes the iterative nature of information acquisition, information behavior research has so far been dominated by the identification and conceptual elaboration of discrete behaviors. We introduce the theoretical concept of “information behavior patterns” to characterize the intricate connectedness of information interaction in an arts and crafts context. A qualitative study comprising naturalistic observation and semi-structured interviews with 20 arts and crafts hobbyists was conducted in two “browse-first” information environments that support various forms of active and passive information acquisition: Pinterest and a brick-and-mortar crafts store. Findings revealed a variety of information behavior patterns across both environments. We illustrate several of these through in-depth discussions of two specific information acquisition sessions. We visualize observed patterns from these sessions to illustrate the interweaving of active, passive acquisition, and personal goals. Our findings demonstrate the complex interconnectedness of human information behavior, highlighting the importance of going beyond compartmentalizing behaviors into “buckets” when trying to understand the complex, dynamic, and evolving nature of information interaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)594-608
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences


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