O SlideShare utiliza cookies para otimizar a funcionalidade e o desempenho do site, assim como para apresentar publicidade mais relevante aos nossos usuários. Se você continuar a navegar o site, você aceita o uso de cookies. Leia nosso Contrato do Usuário e nossa Política de Privacidade.
O SlideShare utiliza cookies para otimizar a funcionalidade e o desempenho do site, assim como para apresentar publicidade mais relevante aos nossos usuários. Se você continuar a utilizar o site, você aceita o uso de cookies. Leia nossa Política de Privacidade e nosso Contrato do Usuário para obter mais detalhes.
The information seeking behaviour of advisors to policy-makers for homelessness in Ireland - Honohan
Behaviour of Advisers
to Policy-Makers for
Homelessness in Ireland
MSc ILM, MA, BMus, ALAI
Dissertation Supervisor: Dr. A J Pickard,
Homeless adults accessing local authority managed emergency
accommodation in Ireland:
• 20-26 June 2016: 4,152
• 20-26 February 2017: 4,875
• July 2016: the Irish government launches its new Action Plan for
Housing and Homelessness: Rebuilding Ireland
• Some of the participants in my research had contributed to the
preparatory meetings for that plan
Five Pillars of the Plan
1. Address Homelessness
2. Accelerate Social Housing
3. Build More Homes
4. Improve Rental Sector
5. Utilise Existing Housing Source: http://rebuildingireland.ie/
Evolution of a Research Question
• Original question: is academic research into
homelessness reaching the relevant policy-makers?
• researching the information-seeking behaviour of policy-
which finally evolved into:
• researching the information-seeking behaviour of their
Aim: To study the information-seeking behaviour of advisers to
policy-makers for homelessness in Ireland
1. To identify how advisers to policy-makers access information.
2. To establish where they access information.
3. To investigate their thoughts and feelings when seeking
4. To identify the barriers and drivers to their information-seeking.
• Information-seeking from the user’s perspective: The Kuhlthau
• The affective domain in information-seeking
• The Concepts of ‘Enough’ information and ‘Satisficing’
• The information-seeking of policy-makers and their advisers
• Sense-making and Context in information-seeking
• Information-seeking in the Online Environment
• Motivation in Information-seeking
A pivotal stage in this study was a meeting
with a senior civil servant in a government
My original plan was to conduct a Delphi study
focussing on civil servants only
However, on the advice of
my key informant, I decided:
• to conduct interviews
instead of the Delphi
• to broaden the scope to
include participants from
The research question suggested a
qualitative research method, to gain an
understanding of the participants’
information-seeking processes from their
points of view and their thoughts and
feelings about the process of information-
• Instrumental Case Study
• Purposive Sampling
• Interview Schedule Design
• Data Collection: The Interview Process
• Ethical Considerations
Semi-structured interviews (May-July 2016)
• Two senior civil servants in government departments
• Two representatives from homeless charities
• Former adviser to a government minister
• Regional local government official
[All interviews took place in person]
Grounded theory approach
Constant comparative technique
• Personal contacts are key in the information-seeking of these
• Three key sources of information: (a) databases, (b) websites of
trusted organisations and (c) libraries
• Barriers: time constraints and a lack of or limited access to
academic literature (due to financial restrictions)
• Driver: effective communication and information sharing
• The vast majority displayed ‘satisficing’ behaviour, due primarily
to time constraints.
‘Satisficing’ is a blend of the words ‘satisfying’ and
‘sufficing’: in information behaviour research it means
engaging in information-seeking behaviour that the users
perceive is ‘good enough’ (Ford 2015).
• Emotion plays an important role in the decision-making process
regarding ‘enough’ information (Similar to Berryman 2006).
Suggested Ways Forward
The following recommendations (presented in no particular
order) were suggested by the participants:
1. The possibility of using big data analysis on homelessness
data in Ireland could be considered, as has been done in the
United States, Australia and Denmark.
2. A process to enable sharing of anonymised data between
organisations involved with homelessness data and other
organisations - such as the Health Research Board and the
Central Statistics Office - could be devised (this is currently
restricted by data protection).
3. More research could be done on the Homelessness Data that is
freely available on the website of the Department of Housing,
Planning, Community and Local Government.
Academic researchers and students could be made more aware of
4. More communication is needed between the government
departments and the homeless charities. The Pathway
Accommodation & Support System (PASS) database could be
made more transparent to all stakeholders, perhaps by
anonymising the data so it could be used by all stakeholders in a
way that doesn’t breach data protection.
5. A central portal of information regarding homelessness
consisting of both the academic literature and the homelessness
data could be set up for use by all stakeholders.
6. Free access to academic literature on homelessness could be
provided to all stakeholders. This could be done in a number of
ways, such as making funds available to enable access to
literature or providing access to an academic library.
7. Informal communication
between individuals in
organisations involved with
homelessness and academic
researchers needs to be
maintained. A formal
structure for this
communication could be
Berryman, J. M. (2006). What defines 'enough' information? How policy workers make judgements and decisions during information
seeking: preliminary results from an exploratory study Information Research, 11(4), Paper 266.
Berryman, J. M., & Parker, N. (2007). The Role of Affect in Judging "What is Enough?". In D. Nahl & D. Bilal (Eds.), Information and
Emotion: The Emergent Affective Paradigm in Information Behavior Research and Theory (pp. 85-98). Medford, N.J: Information
Case, D. O. (2012). Looking for information: a survey of research on information seeking, needs, and behavior (3rd ed.). Bingley:
Corbin, J. M., & Strauss, A. L. (2015). Basics of qualitative research: techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory
(4th ed.). Los Angeles: SAGE.
Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government. (2016). Homelessness Report June 2016. Retrieved from
Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government. (2017). Homelessness Report February 2017. Retrieved from
Dervin, B. (1998). Sense-making theory and practice: an overview of user interests in knowledge seeking and use. Journal of
Knowledge Management, 2(2), 36-46. doi:10.1108/13673279810249369
Ford, N. (2015). Introduction to information behaviour. London: Facet.
Government of Ireland. (2016). Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness: Rebuilding Ireland. Retrieved from
Kuhlthau, C. C. (1991). Inside the search process: Information seeking from the user's perspective. Journal of the American Society
for Information Science, 42(5), 361-371. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-4571(199106)42:5<361::AID-ASI6>3.0.CO;2-#
Pickard, A. J. (2013). Research methods in information (2nd ed.). London: Facet.
• My Dissertation Supervisor Dr. A J Pickard, Northumbria
University for her help, advice and support
• My key informant for her advice and help
• The participants in the study for their time and generosity
• The Library of Trinity College Dublin for their support in attending
• The Cataloguing and Metadata Group of the Library Association
of Ireland (CMG) for the CMG Bursary 2016
• My colleagues in the Academic & Special Libraries Section of the
Library Association of Ireland (A&SL) for their advice and help