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Seeking information: a study of the use and understanding of information by parents and young children. Walker

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Presented at LILAC 2009

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Seeking information: a study of the use and understanding of information by parents and young children. Walker

  1. 1. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk 1 Information Seeking at Home: A study of the use and understanding of information by parents of young children Christopher G. Walker PhD Researcher April 2009
  2. 2. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk “Parents needed information on: health for the child, child care, and child development” (Nicholas and Marden 1997). 2
  3. 3. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk 3
  4. 4. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk • ASTHMA RISK TO COUCH POTATO KIDS – The Guardian (03/03/2009) • SCHOOLS ADMISSION PROCESS TOO COMPLEX – BBC News (03/03/2009) • STOP CHILDREN DRINKING FULL-FAT MILK – The Daily Mail (10/02/2009) • SINGLE MUMS RAISE AGE OF SUPER-CHAVS – The Daily Mail (10/02/2009) • NURSERY BETTER THAN GRANDMA - REPORT – The Guardian (10/02/2009) • VICTORIAN STANDARDS IMPROVE RESULTS – The Daily Mail (09/02/2009) • NO ALCOHOL FOR UNDER-15S CALL – BBC News (29/01/2009) • NEW MUMS IN CRISIS AND HAVE NO SUPPORT The Daily Mail (17/01/2009) • POVERTY NO EXCUSE FOR POOR EXAM RESULTS – The Guardian (16/01/2009) • MEASLES CASES ON THE INCREASE – The Daily Mail (09/01/2009) • LIFE IS GETTING WORSE FOR CHILDREN – The Telegraph (09/06/2008) • CHILDREN'S DRINK GUIDANCE BY GOVERNMENT – The Telegraph (02/06/2008) • PARENTS URGED TO READ TO CHILDREN MORE – The Guardian (30/05/2008) • BACTERIAL INFECTION LINK TO COT DEATHS – BBC News (30/05/2008) • THE VERY REAL PRESSURES OF A PARENT – The Daily Mail (01/05/2008) • CERVICAL CANCER VACCINE MAKE IT OPTIONAL – The Guardian (25/04/2008) 4
  5. 5. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk • Semi-structured interview with 35 parents. • Observations and outreach work to try and obtain examples from “hard to reach parents”. • Purposeful sample of parents comprising mixed-socio economic backgrounds. • Parents recruited from five primary schools and one local church. 5
  6. 6. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk 6 • All interview data was transcribed manually from MP3 audio files into NVivo 8. • Approximately 170,000 words of transcription.
  7. 7. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk 7 • Each transcript was initially coded using “line-by- line” open coding into NVivo 8. • Coding techniques being used during analysis: – constant comparison/ axial coding, – theoretical coding, – word frequency analysis etc. • Current state of play: – 322 free nodes being reduced into three nodes and core themes
  8. 8. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk 8 The results are still being analysed and as such are still tentative and subject to refinement. However, after the initial open-coding, a number of themes emerged from the data. Assessing People Emotions Places Catalysts Questions Hindrances System Internet Trust
  9. 9. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk 9 “My opinion of them as a character how long I have known them will affect my opinion of what they say and that’s quite strange really cos you don’t really think about how you make decisions” Betty “Having said that, as a parent I don’t think I would go as far as that...parenting shouldn’t be as difficult as that and you do look for more like logical stuff that sounds reasonable” Alison
  10. 10. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk 10  Closely aligned with hindrances and catalysts  Fear and Anxiety  Getting it wrong  Not knowing what to do  Not knowing where to go  Frustration at being caught in the SYSTEM “one of my kids had a rash one time…I rang my husband’s mum, ‘they have a rash what do I do?’ So she was there for me...I panic when it’s my kids, they’re not allowed to be poorly.” Dasie
  11. 11. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk 11 “If I don’t know where to go; if I don’t know certain things, like what can I do, Emma use to say to me I can get you in touch with a lady called Connie. And I did go to her and she gave me praise. She used to pick me up and we use to have a chat and stuff and she told me if I ever felt depressed or awt just go down and see Connie.” • Catalysts are enablers that support and allow parents to seek for and find information. • Catalysts among lower socio-economic groups often revolve around “advocates” or “gate keepers” in the form of parent support advisors and family outreach workers • Catalysts for those “everyday-type questions” seemed to revolve around those sources which provided easily accessible and “credible” information. (Trusted sources)
  12. 12. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk 12 “Err...my special care nurses were very good they told me I needed medication and the vitamins, and it was really frustrating and really annoying that I knew that every time I would go to that doctors that she would question me.” Carol Hindrances are those issues that are barriers to parents finding information.  Lack of Trust  The System  Social Isolation  Fear  Access
  13. 13. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk 13 A major source of information for parents and is seemingly being adopted as a “first port of call”. ... “it’s like magic…” Case: Dasie, feels socially isolated, does not have any local friends and does not trust her neighbours so instead she has developed friendships and relationships through internet chat rooms. The relationships in the chat rooms have become a trusted source of help and advice for her and have developed into very real friendships as she meets with them both in the real world and in cyberspace. Beverly uses the internet a lot—she has also used the internet extensively when looking for information about the MMR vaccine. Through a conversation in an internet chat room, she came across an internet site which provided an alternative view to the “official” medical line on the MMR vaccine. After following the internet links on the site, as well as participating in the online discussion groups, she was convinced that the MMR vaccine was not proven to be safe and that her children should have the single jabs
  14. 14. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk 14 Personal relationships seem to be the single most important source of information for parents. Trusted friend or family member People with similar outlook or values – “just like me” Own parents…sometimes! Middle class have better social capital … and use it. Lower socio-economic don’t:  mistrust and a perception that a secret would be spread around the community;  everyone else is in the “same boat” and has their own problems;  don’t want to be seen as weak;  a fear of social services getting involved;  it’s my problem—I will deal with it;  a fear of been seen as failure by others;  social isolation is sometimes accompanied by harrowing accounts of clinical depression and even attempted suicide.
  15. 15. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk 15 “I would also speak to my colleagues and ask them what they know about it.” Suzie (Professional) “I think if I ask for help…I feel as if I am a failure. As I see it, I have already been a failure cos of what [the] kids have done and that and how my life panned out…I think I would, I would feel like more of a failure if I asked for help.” Julie, (Single Mum on Housing Estate)
  16. 16. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk 16  Places refers to resources used by parents excluding the internet and people.  Some places differ depending on life stage e.g. books and parenting magazines seem to be particularly popular especially for parents with very young children  Supernanny was watched by almost everyone!  Newspapers  Public libraries do not seem to be seen as a place for parents to try and find information. Only one other mother mentioned that she had gone to the library to look for some information books for her daughter.
  17. 17. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk 17  early childhood issues: sleep, food, child development, immunisations, child development;  later childhood issues: school choice, homework, clubs, academic attainment;  specific issues: children with behaviour problems, children with illnesses, benefit entitlements. See: Nicholas & Marden, 1997
  18. 18. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk 18 The systems can be seen as either a great support or a hindrance. Fern and Fiona: Both expressed their exasperation at being “caught in the system” and the inadequacies of social services as they have failed over many years to provide them with information, help and support. The consequence of this is a feeling of isolation and breakdown of trust between the parent and the support service. Fiona even blames the long-running “saga” with social services and their lack of support for her depression
  19. 19. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk 19 Andrew: Is very positive about the multi-agency help and support he and his family were given when his son was diagnosed with autism. Andrew noted that it had helped that he and his wife were both educated professionals, and he felt that that had helped him and his wife be pro-active and navigate the system (bureaucracy), which at times could seem daunting and difficult.
  20. 20. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk 20  Trust can be a:  person;  source.  But predominantly a person.  Experience is the key attribute Trust is an important concept that threads through and links all of the themes together
  21. 21. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk 21  Parents seek for and asses information in different ways;  Predominantly rely on other people’s experience (trusted sources);  Rely on known sources or “tacit knowledge” to make educated guesses;  Rely on quick and expedient answers – “just good enough” Question? How does current information literacy theory translate into the complexity and often “messiness” of life and parenting?
  22. 22. Christopher G Walker | Leeds Metropolitan University | c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk 22 Christopher Walker PhD Researcher Faculty of Innovation North Leeds Metropolitan University Priestley Hall - Room 206 Beckett Park Leeds LS6 3QS Phone: 0113 812 8669 Email: c.g.walker@leedsmet.ac.uk

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