Explaining health managers' information seeking behaviour and use

Edwards, Christine, Fox, Rebekah, Gillard, Steven, Gourlay, Stephen, Guven, Pinar, Jackson, Charles, Chambers, Mary and Drennan, Vari (2013) Explaining health managers' information seeking behaviour and use. (Project Report) Southampton, U.K. : National Institute for Health Research. 215 p.


The aims of the project were to analyse the information behaviour of health service managers in decision-making, to identify the facilitators and barriers to the use of information, and to develop guidelines for improving practice. The study employed a mixed methodology in two phases - five qualitative case studies, and a national survey of managers, and NHS librarians. Managers used a variety of different sources, online, written, people/ networks, and education and training courses. Internet/online sources were very widely used, but personal contacts are more important, and there was also a heavy use of internal Trust data. Only one third found it easy to find information relevant to their work as a manager. They also found it difficult to access information either through lack of time, information overload, or not knowing where to find it. Training in information search was helpful, but those with significant expertise in search and research based sources – librarians and medical staff – reported most difficulty in finding information related to management. However, those who have studied management find it easier, indicating that grounding in management knowledge is important for effective search, selection and application.

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