Expected and materialised information source use by municipal officials : intertwining with task complexity

Miamaria Saastamoinen, Sanna Kumpulainen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction. This paper examines information seeking in a city administration. We analyse the relationship between information source use and task complexity, and the connections between sources and information types.

    Method. Data were collected through pre-task and post-task questionnaires completed by six city administration employees during their normal workdays. The data set was collected on fifty-nine tasks chosen by the participants.

    Results. Five information source types (the Web, organizational information systems, e-mail, human sources, other) were recognised in the data. Task complexity affected the use of some sources more than others. Increasing task complexity reduces the use of organizational information systems and increases the use of Web resources, respectively.

    Conclusion. We found that task complexity is an important factor explaining information seeking behaviour, and specific source types are used when seeking for specific information types.

    Analysis. The pre-task and post-task forms of the same underlying task were joined together and each task was assigned an aggregated complexity estimate based on the estimates made by the participants. Expected (pre-task) and materialised (post-task) information types and sources were classified and finally, quantitative analysis methods and statistical tests were used to find trends in information source use by task complexity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number646
    JournalInformation Research
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • complexity
    • information retrieval
    • information seeking
    • information sources
    • kompleksisuus
    • tasks
    • tehtävät
    • tiedonhaku
    • tiedonhankinta
    • tiedonlähteet
    • työ
    • work

    Publication forum classification

    • Publication forum level 2

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Library and Information Sciences


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