Document (#35164)

Author
Savolainen, R.
Title
Interpreting informational cues : an explorative study on information use among prospective homebuyers
Source
Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 60(2009) no.11, S.2244-2254
Year
2009
Abstract
This article elaborates the picture of information use from the perspective of interpreting informational cues about the attributes of entities. It is assumed that such activity draws on cognitive mechanisms that are employed as the constituents of diverse interpretation approaches to informational cues. The empirical data of the study were gathered by means of think aloud method from 16 prospective homebuyers in 2008. The participants interpreted informational cues available in announcements published in a printed housing listing issue and a Web-based information system serving the needs of prospective homebuyers. The data were examined by means of qualitative content analysis. By drawing on the findings of Zhang and her associates, the study revealed 7 cognitive mechanisms: identification of key attributes, specification, evaluation, comparison by similarity, comparison by differentiation, explanation, and conclusion. Three major approaches employed in the interpetation of informational cues were identified. The descriptive-evaluative approach draws on the identification and evaluation of individual attributes of an entity. The comparative approach is more sophisticated because it is based on the evaluation of the attributes by their perceived similarity or differentiation. Finally, the explanatory approach draws on the identification of attributes with causal potential.

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