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Lifeworld as “unit of analysis”

Lifeworld as “unit of analysis” PurposeThe authors discuss the lifeworld as a research concept for the field of information behaviour, which serves to problematise the concept of unit of analysis. In so doing, the authors demonstrate how the lifeworld can be adopted as a unit of analysis in information behaviour research, that is, how research can be based in the lifeworld rather than merely looking at the lifeworld. The paper aims to discuss these issues.Design/methodology/approachThe authors first situate our discussion in the current of information behaviour scholarship. The authors then introduce the concepts of lifeworld and unit of analysis and consider how they intersect. Next, to show the importance of the lifeworld, the authors present two recent studies in which the lifeworld emerged. Finally, the authors discuss how lifeworld-based research can be conducted more conscientiously.FindingsThough many research approaches deal with lived experience in one way or another, they tend not to fully grasp these experiences. As opposed to units of analysis such as individual, social group, person-in-situation, etc., using lifeworld as a unit of analysis allows phenomena to be researched holistically and without reductionism.Research limitations/implicationsThe authors limit the discussion to the concept of the lifeworld as developed by Husserl, the concept’s originator. The lifeworld has been discussed and extended by other authors since, but this work is not considered here. The viewpoint is offered as a supplementary perspective, meant to be enriching to our field of study, rather than divisive.Originality/valueThis is the first time the concept of the lifeworld has been fully explicated in information science. As the authors discuss, two recent information behaviour studies that “discovered” the lifeworld through their analysis. Future studies that attend to the lifeworld from the start have the capacity to build on this work and extend the horizons of information science. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Documentation Emerald Publishing

Lifeworld as “unit of analysis”

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0022-0418
DOI
10.1108/JD-12-2017-0174
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThe authors discuss the lifeworld as a research concept for the field of information behaviour, which serves to problematise the concept of unit of analysis. In so doing, the authors demonstrate how the lifeworld can be adopted as a unit of analysis in information behaviour research, that is, how research can be based in the lifeworld rather than merely looking at the lifeworld. The paper aims to discuss these issues.Design/methodology/approachThe authors first situate our discussion in the current of information behaviour scholarship. The authors then introduce the concepts of lifeworld and unit of analysis and consider how they intersect. Next, to show the importance of the lifeworld, the authors present two recent studies in which the lifeworld emerged. Finally, the authors discuss how lifeworld-based research can be conducted more conscientiously.FindingsThough many research approaches deal with lived experience in one way or another, they tend not to fully grasp these experiences. As opposed to units of analysis such as individual, social group, person-in-situation, etc., using lifeworld as a unit of analysis allows phenomena to be researched holistically and without reductionism.Research limitations/implicationsThe authors limit the discussion to the concept of the lifeworld as developed by Husserl, the concept’s originator. The lifeworld has been discussed and extended by other authors since, but this work is not considered here. The viewpoint is offered as a supplementary perspective, meant to be enriching to our field of study, rather than divisive.Originality/valueThis is the first time the concept of the lifeworld has been fully explicated in information science. As the authors discuss, two recent information behaviour studies that “discovered” the lifeworld through their analysis. Future studies that attend to the lifeworld from the start have the capacity to build on this work and extend the horizons of information science.

Journal

Journal of DocumentationEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 9, 2018

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