A conceptual framework for explaining information behavior. This paper is by Diane Nahl. It was published in Studies in Media & Information Literacy Education, Volume 1, Issue 2 (May 2001).
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Three congruent theoretical approaches to defining and measuring information behaviors are reviewed, representing three compatible theories within the behavioral tradition in social and information sciences. The taxonomic approach focuses on identifying the levels and sub-components of information behaviors in the affective, cognitive, and sensorimotor domains. The psychodynamic approach focuses on conflict resolution within the self between affective uncertainty and cognitive incomprehension. The ethnomethodological approach focuses on the communicative meaning of new information and its role in the lives of users. These three behavioral approaches provide the context for new insights in the study of information environments. Two applications are described, dealing with the taxonomy of technophobia and with information counseling.