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ERIC Number: EJ1138647
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Mar
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-1368-1613
How Work Positions Affect the Research Activity and Information Behaviour of Laboratory Scientists in the Research Lifecycle: Applying Activity Theory
Kwon, Nahyun
Information Research: An International Electronic Journal, v22 n1 Mar 2017
Introduction: This study was conducted to investigate the characteristics of research and information activities of laboratory scientists in different work positions throughout a research lifecycle. Activity theory was applied as the conceptual and analytical framework. Method: Taking a qualitative research approach, in-depth interviews and field observations with twenty-four bio- and nano-scientists were conducted at science laboratories in South Korea. A micro-moment time-line interview and critical incident technique guided the interviews. Analysis: Transcribed interview scripts, field notes, and video-recorded images were analysed using the frameworks of activity theory and the research lifecycle. Results: Laboratory scientists were largely divided into principal investigators and junior scientists supporting them. Each group used different information sources for different purposes throughout the research lifecycle. The study also revealed the socio-cultural norms and rules affecting the division of labour. All of this contextual information shaped the information behaviour of the scientists in different positions. Conclusion: Work position was revealed as a critical factor characterizing scientists' research and information activities. The study constructed a model explaining the division of labour among laboratory scientists in the research lifecycle. Socio-cultural norms should be taken into account when system designers and policymakers design new scientific research support systems.
Thomas D. Wilson. 9 Broomfield Road, Broomhill, Sheffield, S10 2SE, UK. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Korea
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A