A multidimensional approach to the study of human-information interaction: a case study of collaborative information retrieval
While most research in the area of human-information behavior has focused on a single dimension--either the psychological or the social--this case study demonstrated the importance of a multidimensional approach. The Cognitive Work Analysis framework guided this field study of one event of collaborative information retrieval (CIR) carried out by design engineers at Microsoft, including observations and interviews. Various dimensions explained the motives for this CIR event and the challenges the participants encountered: the cognitive dimension, the specific task and decision, the organization of the teamwork, and the organizational culture. Even though it is difficult at times to separate one dimension from another, and all are interdependent, the analysis uncovered several reasons for design engineers to engage in CIR, such as when they are new to the organization or the team, when the information lends itself to various interpretations, or when most of the needed information is not documented. Similar multidimensional studies will enhance our understanding of human-information behavior.