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Shall I Google it or ask the competent villain down the hall? The moderating role of information need in information source selection



Previous studies have found that both (a) the characteristics (e.g., quality and accessibility) (e.g., Fidel & Green, 2004) and (b) the types of sources (e.g., relational and nonrelational sources) (e.g., Zimmer, Henry, & Butler, 2007) influence information source selection. Different from earlier studies that have prioritized one source attribute over the other, this research uses information need as a contingency factor to examine information seekers' simultaneous consideration of different attributes. An empirical test from 149 employees' evaluations of eight information sources revealed that (a) low-and high-information-need individuals favored information source quality over accessibility while medium-information-need individuals favored accessibility over quality; and (b) individuals are more likely to choose relational over nonrelational sources as information need increases.