Model Research Papers From Across The Disciplines

The aim of this paper is to explore the extent to which concepts of information behaviour have been adopted within other disciplines, to the extent allowed by quantitative analysis of Web of Science data. Searches were carried out in Web of Science in each decade from 1960 to the present day and the results analysed by the journals publishing related papers and by the research areas of these journals. The 'Analyze Results' feature of Web of Science was used to provide quantitative analysis of the results, by journal title and by research area. While papers on information behaviour appear in more than one hundred disciplinary areas, the distribution is concentrated in a very limited number of areas and is otherwise thinly spread over the remaining disciplines. Scholars in many disciplines have explored the information needs and information behaviour of those working in the discipline, or whom the disciplines serves.However, the concentration of interest is found in the health and medical sciences, computer science and information systems, communication and media studies, and psychology.

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It has now become evident that aspects of information behaviour research (using Wilson’s (2000) definition of information behaviour) have become distributed over many disciplines.

Even a simple search for papers with information needs in the title reveals that the top two journals, in terms of number of papers, are not in the field of information science, but are health-related; they are, .

There is, however, some research on the diffusion of scientific ideas across disciplines.

For example, Kiss, Broom, Craze, and Rafols (2009) used an epidemiological model of diffusion to trace the use of the term in the Web of Science from its discovery in 1985 and the publication of papers in biochemistry and cell biology, to the extent of its use by 2008, when the term was found not only in the biological sciences, but also in medicine, engineering, materials science, physics and computer science.

A further analysis was carried out on the distribution of citations over Web of Science research areas, to key works by four frequently-cited authors: Dervin, Kuhlthau, Savolainen and Wilson.

The overall output of papers on the topic shows an exponential growth pattern since the early 1960s, as the red trend-line in Figure 1 indicates.This interest in information behaviour on the part of disciplines other than information science is not new: even in the decade of the 1960s, the 17 papers with the term information needs in the title were assigned to nine subject categories and were published in journals representing six different disciplines.The aim of this paper is not to explore some theory of the diffusion of research concepts across disciplines, but to present a preliminary map of the phenomenon in terms of its growth over time and the diversity of disciplines now concerned with information behaviour issues. The only paper I have found, which explores the diffusion of ideas from information science into other disciplines, is that by Cronin and Pearson (1990).In fact, thirteen of the top twenty journals are health-related, including health informatics, health education, and health libraries.Only five journals can be described as core information sciences journals, and the final two are in the fields of computer science and chemistry.The results of the searches were analysed using the "Analyse results" feature of Web of Science.This provides analysis by year of publication, source titles, and research areas, among other characteristics.Later, Julien (1996), carried out a content analysis of the information needs and uses literature, finding that some 20% of citations were to research in fields outside of information science.She noted that, compared with the interdisciplinarity of other fields, this was a relatively modest proportion.After developing two epidemiological models, the authors conclude that, ', simply counting the occurrence of the term in different disciplines, without considering the time it appears to have been introduced into these disciplines.He finds that, although the largest proportion of uses of the term is in the Web of Science subject category, Literature, it is also found in more than 100 other disciplines.

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