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Title: Scholars' research related Personal Information Management : an investigation of PAAET, Kuwait
Author: Alomar, Mashael
ISNI:       0000 0004 5348 9620
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2014
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Personal Information Management (PIM) refers to the way people collect, organize and retrieve different forms of information including traditional printed and electronic content, such as books, papers, documents, email and bookmarks. Studies have shown that individuals struggle in their PIM practices to manage the diverse and voluminous information they accumulate. Within their research, scholars specifically, are not only information seekers, they are information keepers and managers as well. This research investigated the PIM practices of scholars in the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET), a Higher Education institution in Kuwait. The study explored the factors that shape how scholars manage their personal information collections (PICs) within the research process. This was achieved by answering four research questions: How are scholars' research-related PICs created? What are the main characteristics of research related PICs? How are they used? What are the factors that shape them? The study employed a naturalistic qualitative design methodology. Three series of interviews were conducted with librarians and faculty members to identify a focus for the main study in an exploratory stage of the research. The main body of data investigated scholarly PIM practice of 17 scholars from Education and Health disciplines (College of Nursing and Health Science College) and focussing specifically on their research-related PICs. The data collected was interviews and photographs of scholars' collections, in addition to observation via tours of their working spaces within the interviews. The data was analysed using thematic analysis. The study found that scholars' research-related information collections (PICs) are huge, diverse, hybrid, and fragmented. Scholars' personal space of information contained a massive quantity of information related to their research that is stored in different places at different stages of the research. It chiefly consists of four types of information: sources of literature, research data, published research and administrative paperwork. It is fragmented in different locations physically and electronically. A model linking the size, diversity, hybridity and fragmentation of the collections to immediate and underlying factors was developed, explaining how the two layers of factors shaped the research-related PICs. The immediate factors affect the collections directly and were identified as: The need for research, Time pressure, Workspace, Technology opportunity, Support services and Self-positioning & Self-presentation. Those which affected the collections indirectly, the underlying factors, were: Age, Gender, Nationality, Seniority, Discipline, Foreign language, and Educational background. The study offers several contributions one of which is defining the specific nature of the research-related PICs of scholars and providing a model that explains the relationships between factors shaping their features. The research-related PIC is a special type of collection and thus needs special attention in handling such sizable, diverse, hybrid and fragmented material. By its findings, the study informed several stakeholders including scholars themselves, librarians, institutions, policy makers, PIM system vendors and software developers. Practical implications drawn out for each stakeholder can help scholars to be more efficient in creating, organizing and curating their research-related PICs, which will have positive effects in terms of time pressure and re-finding stored material.
Supervisor: Cox, Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available