Everyday shopping : an exploration of the information behaviors of grocery shoppers
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The field of everyday information behavior addresses how individuals interact with information in their everyday life. Previous research in the field has largely ignored the banal and quotidian portion of everyday life that scholars of the critical and cultural theory of the everyday emphasize. This dissertation seeks to enhance the scholarly knowledge of everyday information behavior by demonstrating that critical and cultural theory offers concepts and theories that enable the field to more thoroughly explore the everyday. Through two empirical studies using qualitative methods inspired by institutional ethnography, this dissertation shows how everyday information scholars can investigate the mundane everyday activity of grocery shopping to gain a deeper understanding of the information behaviors involved. The first empirical study addresses the nurturer persona, a concept based on the role of the food provider. The second empirical study addresses the creative persona, a concept based on the creativity a recreational grocery shopper can enact in the grocery store. The data from the empirical studies is analyzed using three different perspectives (grocery shopping perspective, information behavior perspective, and critical and cultural theory perspective) drawn from distinct but related research literatures to highlight the complexity of grocery shoppers’ information behavior. The findings from the grocery shopping perspective show a strong presence of the nurturer and creative personas that impact a grocery shoppers’ experience in the grocery store. The findings from the information behavior perspective show the process of grocery shopping as information-rich and consisting of many different information behaviors. They also show how aspects of the nurturer and creative personas influence the information behaviors of grocery shopping. Finally, the findings from the critical and cultural theory perspective show that grocery shopping engages in an intensive and active way in ‘everyday’ information behavior. This finding is demonstrated through concepts developed by combining critical and cultural theory with concepts and concerns from everyday information behavior research.