Transitions and social interaction: making sense of self and situation through engagement with others

Pam McKenzie, Rebekah Willson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This short paper examines social interaction (e.g. asking colleagues for help in the lunchroom) as an informative experience, a way to understand oneself and situation. The process of coming to an understanding is frequently hidden, but may be brought to light by examining the experiences of individuals undergoing a transition – a change that requires them to redefine their sense of self and situation. Using exemplars from previous research and drawing on Lave and Wenger's (1991) theory of situated learning, this paper explores the importance of social interaction to information practices. The role of social interaction will be discussed, including: information seeking to become part of a community, and social interaction as a source of information and as a site for information comparison (a type of information use) to situate oneself in a new environment. The paper proposes making social interaction a focus of study to better understand how individuals use information to change perception about and situate themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-462
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Oct 2019


  • transitions
  • information practices
  • information behavior
  • social interactions
  • sociocultural research


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