From Someone Who Has Been There: Information Seeking in Mentoring
Follman, Rebecca Parks
St. Jean, Beth
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For tenure-track faculty, mentoring can be an important source of information needed for success in their new career and institution. Although information behavior is central to the mentoring relationship, mentoring has not yet been looked at through an information behavior lens. This study sought to begin to fill this gap by investigating mentees' perceptions regarding how mentees and mentors share information, what motivates mentees to seek information, what barriers exist to their information seeking, and what contributes to a successful mentoring relationship. Data were collected using a Web survey and follow-up interviews, both of which explored the mentoring experiences of tenure-track faculty at a major mid-Atlantic research university. Study findings suggest that the information seeking of mentees is akin to browsing in a document collection, that mentees' information needs are fluid and highly contextualized, and that there are affective barriers to information seeking within the context of the mentoring relationship.