A study of factors that affect the information-seeking behavior of academic scientists



In an effort to understand how academic scientists seek information relevant to their research in today's environment of ubiquitous electronic access, a correlation framework is built and regression analysis is applied to the survey results from 2,063 academic researchers in natural science, engineering, and medical science at five research universities in the United States. Previous work has reported descriptive statistics about these scientists' information-seeking behavior. This study extends that work to examine relationships between scientists' information-seeking behaviors and their personal and environmental factors. Several regression models, including the Poisson model, the logit model, and the ordered logit model, are built to interpret the correlation among scientists' behaviors. In addition, exploratory factor analysis is used for data reduction. Overall, many factors were found to affect the specific information-seeking behaviors of scientists, including demographic, psychological, role-related, and environmental factors. Of the factors having an effect, academic position was the most important determinant of information behavior.