As one of the most important research topics in information seeking field,information source selection has received much attention from scientific community since the 1960's. With the rapid growth of information technique,the increasing information sources is posing a new challenge for people to get information. Meanwhile,scientists have made many achievements about information source selection behavior for different kinds of people in the context of various information needs,tasks and situations. In order to provide a deeper understanding of information source selection,this paper summarizes the results of related studies and discusses potential extensions for future research.
The literature search and review is based on the following databases:WileyInter Science,Elsevier Science Direct,Emerald Insight,Pro Quest Digital Dissertations ＆ Theses,EBSCO Academic Search Premier,Springer LINK,The ACM Digital Library,Taylor ＆ Francis,IEEE/IET Electronic Library and China Academic Journal Network Publishing Database. The search queries are “Information source selection”,“information source choice”,“information source preference” and “information source adoption”. The retrieval deadline is March 3rd,2016. Finally,we identified 299 English articles and 46 Chinese articles.
This paper consists of four parts:an overview of related research,a review of theoretical factors,the model construction based on theories,and the discussion of future research. The first part is a general overview,which finds most studies of information source selection are in Information Science and Medical Science,while a small amount is distributed in management,education,communication,sociology,psychology and other fields；the main theoretical basis includes value comparison (such as Principles of Least Effort,Cost-Benefit Theory,Expectancy-Value Theory and Media Richness Theory),resource conditions (such as Social Capital Theory) and social psychology (such as Social Presence Theory and Transactive Memory Theory). From three major aspects (source-related,characteristics of searching task,and individual-related),the second part reviews the theoretical factors influencing the selection of information source,such as information source accessibility,information quality,task complexity,task importance,task urgency,social capital and so on. The third part is model construction. We build a comprehensive theoretical model of information source selection based on the related literature. The fourth part addresses some considerations and suggestions for future research. We propose that multi-subjects amalgamation can help strengthen the construction of a concept system and a theoretical framework. Furthermore,future studies should extend the types of research objects and refine the context variables. At last,we find it is necessary to study the influence of modern social structure and social factors on the selection of information source for different social groups.
The major contribution of this paper is the proposition of a comprehensive theoretical model of information sources selection. In this model,information searchers and information sources are located in a semi-closed inner ring,while tasks and environment are respectively located in the periphery at both ends. That is,searchers make a perception and judgment on the accessibility and quality of information sources individually and return the results to themselves；the tasks can drive the searchers directly and reconstruct the relationship between the actors in the inner ring；the environment has external effect on the tasks,drives the searchers indirectly and shapes the searchers preferences for the information sources. This model can help us to understand the users information behavior and have some practical implications for information service and information resource construction. 3 figs. 2 tabs. 109 refs.