Relationships, environment, health and development: the information needs expressed online by young first-time mothers

Ian Ruthven, Steven Buchanan, Cara Jardine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)
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This study investigates the information needs of young first time mothers through a qualitative content analysis of 266 selected posts to a major online discussion group. Our analysis reveals three main categories of need: needs around how to create a positive environment for a child, needs around a mother's relationships and well-being and needs around child development and health. We demonstrate the similarities of this scheme to needs uncovered in other studies and how our classification of needs is more comprehensive than those in previous studies. A critical distinction in our results is between two types of need presentation, distinguishing between situational and informational needs. Situational needs are narrative descriptions of a problematic situations whereas informational needs are need statements with a clear request. Distinguishing between these two types of needs sheds new light on how information needs develop. We conclude with a discussion on the implication of our results for young mothers and information providers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)985-995
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018



  • information need
  • information behaviour
  • mother
  • young adult
  • internet forums

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