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Information Seeking Behavior of Scientists in Venezuela

Aristeguieta-Trillos, Simon
Committee Members: 
Dr. Edwin Cortez
December 2010

Abstract: Information is one the essential elements of science. It is an imperative condition that researchers review antecedent works as they advance and create new knowledge. Knowledge creation in science is a process of adding and refining new pieces of data, information, and knowledge to what has already been accomplished by others. Few scientific communities have unlimited access to scientific information sources. Most communities’ access to information is limited by economic, social, cultural, and technological conditions.

This study investigates information seeking behavior and information dissemination practices of the Venezuelan scientific community. A model of scholarly communication in a context of dependency emerges from the following major themes: persisting interpersonal communication with the international scientific community; publication in international journals; prestige and name recognition; and contacting the authors to access full-text journal articles.

A qualitative approach is used to illuminate the information seeking behavior of scientists in Venezuela, to discover the barriers experienced by the Venezuelan scientific community when accessing scientific information, and to explore their scientific information dissemination practices. Interviews were conducted in July 2009 with thirteen Venezuelan scientists from the fields of biology, chemistry, or physics. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed in Spanish. Coding, categories, data analysis, and theory building followed a general inductive approach.