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Abstract

To better understand how individuals and groups derive satisfaction from information, it is important to identify the information source preferences they apply in information seeking and decision making. Four informal propositions drove the structure and underlying logic of this study, forming a preliminary outline of a theory of information source preference profiles and their influence on information satisfaction. This study employed Social Judgment Analysis (SJA) to identify the information judgment preferences held by professional groups for six selected information sources: word of mouth, expert oral advice, Internet, print news, nonfiction books, and radio/television news. The research was designed as an hypothesis-generating exploratory study employing a purposive sample (n = 90) and generated four empirically supported, testable hypotheses about user satisfaction with information sources. The SJA judgment functions revealed the influences of volume and polarity (i.e., positive versus negative information) on information satisfaction. By advancing the understanding of how information source preferences can be identified empirically and their influence on information satisfaction, this research reflects a first, small step toward understanding “satisficing.” Satisficing behaviors result in early termination of information search processes when individuals, facing incomplete information, are sufficiently satisfied to assume risks and execute decisions.