Exploring the lived information-seeking experiences of mature students

Sarah Clark
2014, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp. 58-84


The purpose of this exploratory qualitative study is to gain a clearer understanding of the lived information-seeking experiences of mature students. Such a study is relevant to researchers seeking detailed examinations of mature students’ information search experiences, as well as to reference librarians and information literacy instructors who may wish to refine pedagogy or curriculum in order to help mature students more effectively. This study employed a narrative inquiry design to deeply explore the semester-long information search journeys of two mature students at a regional public university in the state of Oklahoma. Narrative analysis utilizing Carol Kuhlthau's (1991; 1993; 2004; Kuhlthau et al 2008) information search process model uncovered key themes of passion for a topic, time management, the influence of other academic and personal factors on students’ search experiences, and willingness to ask formal or informal search mediators for help. These themes have implications for researchers and practitioners seeking to understand and positively transform the information-seeking process of mature students.


Information-seeking; information search process; mature students; non-traditional students; information behaviour; affective information behaviour; USA

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11645/8.1.1846