Beyond practices: A field study of the contextual factors impacting collaborative information seeking



Collaborative information seeking (CIS) is an important aspect of team work. Researchers are developing more detailed understanding of CIS activities and the tools to support those activities in organizational settings. However, these activities take place in highly contextualized settings. Therefore, while it is important to study CIS activities and technologies, we also need to understand the contextual factors that influence these activities. This understanding can assist in the development of more effective organizational policies and systems to support CIS practices. To address this research gap, we conducted a field study of CIS activities of information technology (IT) teams in two hospitals. In particular, we sought to identify: (1) contextual factors that affect CIS activities and (2) how these factors affect CIS activities. Through this study, we identified four categories of contextual factors – individual, team, organizational and technological – that impacted CIS activities and practices. This study highlights the importance of studying context as an aspect of CIS.