Introduction. This paper aimed to provide novice researchers with a more holistic understanding of what information behaviour entails and how it comes about. Insights gained from existing multifaceted models contributed to an understanding of how the core components and their attributes interact. Careful observation of the relationships among components revealed their role in the entire process.
Method. A qualitative approach was followed to collect and analyse the contents of a selection of existing multifaceted models to determine which components were viewed as fundamental to the information behaviour process, and to what extent these components, their attributes and interrelationships were covered.
Results. Findings showed that although none of the existing multifaceted models covered all components, together they provided the bigger picture as they complemented one another. Information and technological mechanisms, which are viewed as fundamental to the information behaviour process, were previously not identified as core components. A model is proposed that covers the core components and their attributes in one framework, showing how interrelationships set the information behaviour process in motion.
Conclusions. This paper argued for a new perspective on the role of generic models by distinguishing the core components and their attributes, which enable information behaviour to take place. The proposed model could help novice researchers to get the bigger picture of the many components contributing to the information behaviour process. It could also serve as a tool to observe or to explain new developments in information behaviour studies.
Keywords: Information behaviour; Models; Theory
Paper is published in Information Research 21(4): Untangling the building blocks: a generic model to explain information behaviour to novice researchers