Information-seeking behaviors among professional users of industrial equipment


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Information-seeking behaviors among professional users of industrial equipment

  1. 1. Information-seekingbehaviors amongprofessional users ofindustrial equipmentJonatan Lundin,Industrial Ph.D. student, Mälardalen University
  2. 2. AgendaToday, my aim is to:• Introduce you to my research project: the underlyingproblems, research purpose and research questions.• Briefly describe a theoretical system model of activity,used as a framework to for example understand myresearch focus, define and explain the terms I use andunderstand the design of empirical studies andinterprets its result.• Present some results from the ongoing research anddiscuss the results.2
  3. 3. 3Jonatan Lundin, who lives in Västerås:• Has worked as technical communicator for 20 years (informationarchitect): DITA, XML topic based authoring etc. Currently a positionas information architect at Excosoft (part time 50%).• Is a part time (50%) industrial Ph.D. student at Mälardalen University(MDH). Started 1st of Sep 2011.• Belongs to MDH research area Innovation and Product Realization(IPR) – which aims at conducting research on how to developsustainable, useful and competitive products.• Is part of research group Design and Visualization within IPR, where(Jonatans) research subject is Innovation and design.• Is studying information-seeking behaviors among professionalknowledge workers (engineers) in a product usage context.• Is supervised by Prof. Ph.D. Yvonne Eriksson.Who is Jonatan Lundin?
  4. 4. Problem statements from anindustrial point of view4BCDEFAEffective work timefor product userManual ishelping0 %100 %Other worktasksInformation-seekingrelated toproduct useInformation-seeking notrelated toproduct useProduct manufacturing company resources Product customer company resourcesManual isnot helpingOthersourcesare helpingOthersourcesare nothelpingInternalsourcesare helpingInternalsourcesare nothelping
  5. 5. Problem statements from anacademic point of view• There is a lack of knowledge in library and information scienceresearch field regarding:• If and how professional knowledge workers (such as serviceengineers), seek and search for information to be able toperform role related work tasks in an daily (practical, routine)industrial work context.• Why service engineers seek the type of information they seekand why they select the information sources they select.5
  6. 6. Research questions (lic)Licentiate thesis aims at answering the following research questions:1. How do professional users of industrial equipment (such asservice engineers) seek information in a daily (practical, routine)industrial work task context?2. Why do users of industrial equipment display a particularinformation-seeking goal and why do they select the informationsources they select, to be able to perform a work tasks in an dailyindustrial work context?6
  7. 7. Research goal and purpose (lic)7ProblemstatementsResearchinitiative/projectResearch goal (objective):To describe how and explainwhy users seek information.Expected result(scientific point of view):Academic contribution describingand explaining information-seeking behaviors among usersof industrial products. Incl.taxonomy classification,discussions and problematization.How are results intended/expected to be used?Problem statement (industry and scientific point of view)• Lack of knowledge in library and information science field regarding information-seeking behaviors among users of technical products.• Manufacturing companies do not know if investment in documentation is returned.• Customer companies suspect that product usage situation is ineffective.IndustrialcontextScientificcontextIndustryTo inform and educatetechnical communicators,to inform work placeinformation systemdesigners.ScientificTo extend, inform and contribute with newknowledge to scientific community (mainlylibrary and information science) aboutinformation-seeking behaviors amongengineers using technical products.Expected outcomeof result usageResearchpurposeIndustryReduce impact of industrialproblems. Make Swedishindustry more competitive.ScientificMake researchers aware ofneed to study users oftechnical products.
  8. 8. Population of interestR&DOperatorProduct/component manufacturerCustomersupportIntegration/deliveryprojectMainten.supportPlant/system/product builder Plant/system/product ownerIntegrationequipment8ServiceengineerMaintenancesupportOperatorServiceengineerServiceengineerLedgend:Population of interestCompany AB Company ABCompany ABCompany ABServiceengineerR&DCustomersupportManu-facturing SalesManufacturingequipmentOperatorServiceengineer
  9. 9. Activity system model (1)9SubjectNeedNeedNeedActivitySome need are motivesthat induces/energizes.Decision to act.Goal:An image of future desired resultTask/actionTask/actionSub goal Sub goalResult(outcome of activity)Example: Do corrective maintenance (work task)Initial state of (realworld) objectTool Tool Final state of (realworld) objectOrientation phase Execution phase Evaluation phaset
  10. 10. Activity system model (2)10SubjectActivity (task/action level)Example: Do corrective maintenance (work task)Q1: visceralneed. Feeling ofuncertainty.Q2: Conscious need.Ambiguous and ramblingstatement. Consciousnessthat information is missing.Conscious need is toreduce” informationuncertainty” which is amotive to seek info.DecisiontoseekinfoInformation-seeking activityNeedOrientation phase Execution phase Evaluation phasetInformation-seeking activitymay “start” fromany phaseNewinformation/knowledgeis used in work activity
  11. 11. Activity system model (3)11SubjectNeed Information-seekingactivityGoal:An image of future desired resultSearchtaskResult(outcome of activity)Initial state of(real world) objectFinal state of(real world) objectOrientation phase Execution phase Evaluation phasetWork activity Continue work task or change task programUsetask
  12. 12. Activity system model (4)12SubjectSearch taskInitial state of(real world) objectFinal state of(real world) objectOrientationphaseExecutionphaseEvaluationphaseData in database memoryInformation on screenWork activityInformation-seeking activityQuestion or query to object/toolQ3/Q4: Formalized andcompromised need.Action 1 Action 2 Action 3Goal:An image of future desired resultRelevancejudgmentNoSelf regulationof search taskToolYesUse task(memorize/interpret/internalize)Search task is to find the information source and find within the source
  13. 13. Empirical data collection questions13Work activityInformation-seeking activityGoal:An image of future desired resultSearch task,where selectedsource is usedOrientation phase Execution phase Evaluation phaseOrientation phaseIncl. sourceselectionExecution phase Evaluation phaseExplanatory:Why do service engineersdisplay a certaininformation-seeking goal?Descriptive:What information-seekinggoals do service engineersdisplay?Descriptive:What information sourcesare service engineersselecting and using?Explanatory:What factorsaffect/influence serviceengineers choice ofinformation source in awork task situation?Information source(human, computerdatabase, paper etc)Information, classifiedto certain typeExplorative:Do software users displaypatterns of documentationbehavior that may warrantfurther, more formal,investigation?
  14. 14. Background on empirical study 2• What information-seeking goals do service engineers display? Whatinformation sources are service engineers selecting and using?• Population: 7 in-house service engineers performing predictive andcorrective maintenance of industrial equipment (fresh and wastewater pumps).• Location: Service workshop in Veddesta, Stockholm.• Time period: In total, the researcher spent 12 working days in workshop spread across October to December 2012.• Data collection method: Participant observation in naturalisticenvironment.• Unit of measure: Q3/Q4 statements and final state of object insearch task. Used tool (information source).15
  15. 15. Workshop setting for empirical study 2 and 3• Images from the work shop:16Figure 1: Service engineer doing corrective maintenanceFigure 2: Disassembled industrial equipment
  16. 16. Results RQ1: What information-seeking goalsdo service engineers display?• 128 information-seeking incidents was registered during approx. 80 hours ofobservation of 7 service engineers.• An information-seeking incident occurred roughly every half hour.• In total, 23 types of seeking goal were classified.• The 23 seeking goals was further classified into 4 groups:• Knowing something about the equipment/product• Getting data about an individual (colleague)• Remembering (own) earlier performance• Getting the view point/suggestion of a colleague• Majority of goals are related to ”equipment/product” group(13 types of goals – in total 80 incidents).17
  17. 17. Results RQ1: What information-seeking goalsdo service engineers display?• Found information is used differently and depends on work task (readinggoal, B-L Gunarsson, Uppsala University).• Reading goal is probably defined in seeking activity and need dependent.For example:• Not memorize in short term memory (STM) – just write down informationon paper and transfer to another system.• Memorize in STM – to use in work task and then forget.• Understand what sender is saying (meaning).• Integrate sender description with own knowledge.• Integrate and learn to be able to perform task in new situation.18
  18. 18. Results RQ1: What information-seeking goalsdo service engineers display?19Main type ofseeking goalNumber ofsub types/number ofincidentsNot keepinSTM/LTMKeep inSTMInterpretsenderdescriptionIntegratewith ownknowledgeInternalizeto be ableto actData aboutequipment13/80 Writedown partnrIs this thecompressor?Data aboutindividual5/15 Phone no tocolleagueDo youknow how todo X?Data aboutonself1/3 What did Ido lastFriday?Understandsomeoneelses oppinion4/33 N/A N/A What doyou think?Should I...How do I dothis task?Table: Information-seeking goals
  19. 19. RQ1: Discussion relatedto information-seeking goals• Technical communicators do believe that users mostly need taskoriented information (instructions): This study reveals that not allseeking goals are related to a product and are not of proceduralnature.• Service engineers display different types of query statements:• Explorative: ”What is this noise”• Confirmative: ”Is this a compressor?”• Determinative: ”Find partnr for equipment X”• There seems to be planned and unplanned seeking activities.• Service engineer know that they do not know and before doing awork task they seek information.• Service engineer becomes aware of that they do not know in themiddle of a work task.20
  20. 20. Results RQ1: What information sources areservice engineers selecting and using?• 6 generic types of information sources was used. Each generic type ofinformation source was further classified into a sub type. Manuals are notused (depends on classification of manual).• Significant relation between type of goal and source selection.21682717Humans Paper print out Computer Technical device Equipment/artifact Mobile94 3
  21. 21. What factors affect/influence service engineerschoice of information source in a work tasksituation?24Subject is awareof the followingsources and“knows” whatthey contain:Perceived infoenvironmentACBSubject says that asource must fulfillone or all of thefollowing criteria tobe a choice:Source selectioncriteria“Must beaccessible”“Must contain theinformation I need”ManualSubject says that thefollowing sources fulfillselection criteria(without ranking them)Informationsource horizonSubject used sourceB first and then A forthe given incidentInformationpathwayDatabase YColleague XABDatabase YColleague XHow many sources issubject aware of andhave s/he usedthem?B Colleague XA Database YFor a given information seeking incident:12What criteria mustsources have for you toconsider them?How do you know thatthese sources fulfill thecriteria? And why did not(C) fulfill the criteria?Why did you use sourceB first and then A?
  22. 22. Discussion RQ2: What factors affect/influenceservice engineers choice of information source ina work task situation?Reflection from data collection that is worth to discuss:• In some incidents, service engineers are using a computer systemto find information that is not primarily intended as an informationsystem (such as an order system to find part nr).• Are service engineers using colleagues as much as they dobecause:• From a habit point of view, they are so used to ask a colleaguethat they do it even for information that could be found indocumentation? Naturalistic decision models (like RPDM) couldexplain this phenomena.• They want to keep the socio-cultural group intact.25
  23. 23. Discussion RQ2: Why do service engineersdisplay a certain information-seeking goal?(What follows is pre-discussion/pre-understanding)• Do service engineers display a certain seeking goal due to that:• They perceive a lack and uncertainty of knowledge and experience toperform a work task - the individual perspective.• Want to maintain a social status in a group or keep the work group intact(strenghten the ”we” feeling) – the socio phsychological perspective.• They want to kill time or simple because of boredom –the situational perspective.• They feel that the organization/work group and the work role force them toseek (it is expected) even though they dont need to –the organization/socio-cultural perspective.• The opposite can be true? – they do not seek even thoug they needinformation, due to that work role, work group or organization expects you tonot search for information.26
  24. 24. Discussion RQ2: Why do service engineersdisplay a certain information-seeking goal?• Lack of knowledge: Users lacks the needed knowledge and mustdo a planned or un-planned information-seeking task.• External goal request: An information system or manager requestthe user to do a task that the user do not understand, which leadsthe user to seek information. Highly regulated environments such asmilitary systems (?).• Decision making: Work task is associated with a lot of decisionmaking. Users need information to be able to make a decision.• Job responsibility: Job responsibility work task is most often not toseek information, but for some work roles it can be to seekinformation to deliver it to someone else. Then the information is notfor own use.28
  25. 25. Questions?29