Volume 3, No 4, 2006
Egyptian and American Internet-Based Cross-Cultural Information Seeking Behavior. Part I: Research Instrument
Paul L. Hover
This article is the first of three in an exploratory study of the cross-cultural, cross-language information-seeking (IS) behavior of a group of eighty-four academic and public reference librarians from Egypt and the USA. The present article describes the design of the cross-cultural research instrument used to record the behavior of participants when presented with a choice of information resources in several languages unfamiliar to them. A review of literature demonstrates the need in cross-cultural investigations for a multi-tiered approach that allows analysis from different perspectives. A detailed description of the design rationale for the interview model is given, which includes a cultural background questionnaire providing data designed to enable comparative analysis of the search performance of sub-groups. Instructions on how to manage cross-language searches complete the interview. A discussion of the usefulness of the methodology in discerning cultural universals, differences, and the IS needs of cross-cultural researchers is followed by conclusions and suggestions for further research.
Keywords: Information seeking behavior; Reference librarians; Cross-language information retrieval; Academic and public libraries; Cultural anthropology; Cross-cultural psychology; Global web site design; Online catalog usage; Foreign language anxiety studies