Contemporary spiritual seeking: understanding information interactions in contemplation and spirituality

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Purpose: Discussions in contemporary spirituality frequently highlight a phenomenon of spiritual seeking; moreover, people often describe their spiritual journeys in terms of a search. This paper takes a closer look at this metaphor by presenting a study that analysed spiritual seeking and its informational features in contemporary non-institutionalised settings. Design/methodology/approach: In this study, the authors conducted semi-structured interviews with thirteen spiritual teachers and speakers who were asked questions about spiritual seeking in contemporary non-institutionalised spirituality. Findings: The authors' participants explained that contemporary spiritual seekers sought spiritual information as a result of affective, developmental and metaphysical concerns. Moreover, their analysis indicated that spiritual information-seeking behaviour incorporated practices such as prayer, yoga and meditation, and contemporary spiritual information interactions were facilitated through spiritual retreats, meditation classes, yoga classes and online social platforms. Research limitations/implications: Since the authors focused on spiritual seeking in contemporary non-institutionalised settings, their findings cannot exhaustively represent all spiritual pursuits in contemporary society. Their study (1) identifies the informational features of contemporary spiritual seeking, (2) explains spiritual seeking as an activity that may theoretically reside within a broader framework of profound information interactions and (3) helps theorise the concept of qualitative profundity in information science research. Originality/value: This study provides an intuitive contextual approach for undertaking information research in under-explored domains such as contemplation and spirituality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)922-936
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Documentation
Issue number4
Early online date29 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2023


  • spirituality
  • information seeking
  • seekership
  • non-western contexts
  • information behaviour


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