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Practice and personhood in professional interaction: Social identities and information needs

Authors
Journal
Library & Information Science Research
0740-8188
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
17
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0740-8188(95)90047-0
Disciplines
  • Communication

Abstract

Abstract This article reports two studies of “intermediary” conduct in naturally occurring online computer search interactions. The first study examines assumptions about professional practice and relational control as these are manifest in the “opening moves” produced by four intermediaries in interaction with two “users” each. The second study seeks to verify individual differences identified in the analyses reported in the first study. Specifically, the distribution of three pronouns “I,” “you,” and “we,” produced by intermediaries in their interaction with users was compared within and across intermediaries through log-linear analysis. Lack of significant within-intermediary variability indicates that the proportional distribution of the three pronouns sampled did not differ between the two interactions. Significant between-intermediary variability in pronoun distribution was, however, observed. The specific patterns of results gained through this quantitative study were consistent with those achieved interpretively in study one. Finally, the results of these studies are discussed within a proposed theoretic framework developed from the perspective of a constitutive theory of communication

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