WHO WAS A NEIGHBOR TO THOSE FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GLOBE?: INTERNATIONAL NEWCOMER STUDENTS’ LOCAL INFORMATION BEHAVIORS IN UNFAMILIAR ENVIRONMENTS
Oh, Chi Young
Butler, Brian S
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation examines the information behaviors of international newcomer students during their adjustment to new environments. In the context of newcomers’ adjustment to local environments, this study focuses on how international students need and seek information about local areas, housing, places, routes, and transportation, that is local information behavior (LIB). The first study of 20 international graduate students suggested that international students’ LIBs might vary depending on their social context. International students who had many co-nationals in their new environment tended to perceive co-nationals as their main information source, while those who had fewer local co-nationals did not. Drawing on information behavior theories and the initial study, the second study introduces a concept “socio-national context,” which is defined as the degree to which there are co-nationals in one’s local environment. By surveying a mixed sample of 149 first-year international and domestic graduate students and conducting interviews and cognitive mapping with a subset (57) of the respondents, the second study found that international newcomer students’ socio-national context interacts with their socio-technical context to shape their LIBs. International students from the top 3 most common countries, who have many local co-nationals, effectively acquired local information through their local co-nationals in offline, online, and mobile settings, while international students from other less-common countries did not engage in such local co-national interaction and social information practices. The third study, conducted as a follow-up in participants’ second year, found that international students’ LIB changed over time and the influence of socio-national context decreased. The contribution of this study also includes analyzing newcomer students’ information needs and wandering behavior through the lenses of Wilson’s information behavior models and proposing new types of information-seeking behavior. Overall, this dissertation presents how the interplay between socio-national, socio-technical, and temporal contexts shapes international newcomer students’ LIBs. In practice, more attention is needed for international newcomer students from less-common countries who may experience more information challenges. This dissertation suggests that information behavior models and theories better account for people’s socio-national context and its interactions with other contexts, if they are to be more relevant in global and migration contexts.