Information source horizons and source preferences of environmental activists: A social phenomenological approach



This study focuses on the ways in which people define their source preferences in the context of seeking orienting information for nonwork purposes. The conceptual framework of the study combines ideas drawn from social phenomenology and information-seeking studies. The study utilizes Alfred Schutz's model describing the ways in which actors structure everyday knowledge into regions of decreasing relevance. It is assumed that this structuring based on the actor's interest at hand is also reflected in the ways in which an actor prefers information sources and channels. The concept of information source horizon is used to elicit articulations of source preferences. The empirical part of the study draws on interviews with 20 individuals active in environmental issues. Printed media (newspapers), the Internet, and broadcast media (radio, television) were preferred in seeking for orienting information. The major source preferences were content of information, and availability and accessibility. Usability of information sources, user characteristics such as media habits, and situational factors were mentioned less frequently as preference criteria.