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An Investigation of Maintenance Technicians' Information-Seeking Behavior in a Repair Center
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5611-9583
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9057-0063
2018 (English)In: IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, ISSN 0361-1434, E-ISSN 1558-1500, Vol. 61, no 3, p. 257-274Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research problem: When it comes to understanding certain aspects of a maintenance technician's information-seeking behavior, knowledge is lacking. For instance, little is known about what kinds of information needs that maintenance technicians exhibit while performing work tasks and what types of sources they employ to satisfy those needs. Understanding such information-seeking behavior is especially essential for technical communicators who endeavor to design useful and relevant technical information. Research questions: 1. What information needs do maintenance technicians show evidence of while performing maintenance work tasks? 2. Where do they go to satisfy these information needs? Literature review: Current knowledge on maintenance technicians' information-seeking behavior is very limited. The literature reviewed for this study covers the task-based information-seeking behavior of different types of engineers and is mainly found within the field of library and information science research. This literature was selected because maintenance technicians and engineers share many characteristics. One information-seeking characteristic exhibited by engineers is the tendency to rely on internal company information, such as colleagues and self-created sources, before external information sources are consulted. Methodology: This study utilized an ethnographic research approach where empirical data were collected, analyzed, and interpreted from a theoretical viewpoint-a synthesis of Bystrom and Hansen's conceptual framework and the Systemic-Structural Theory of Activity. Seven in-house aftermarket maintenance technicians were observed via participant observation at a repair center in Sweden while they performed maintenance tasks on machines that had been taken out of service. Results and conclusions: The results-based on empirical data collected over the course of 12 days, spread over 12 weeks in the autumn of 2012-reveal that the observed maintenance technicians exhibited 50 different types of information needs. They seldom sought instructions covering an entire work task. Instead, to satisfy their information needs, the maintenance technicians consulted four types of sources that, in the present study, have been designated as information source hosts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE-INST ELECTRICAL ELECTRONICS ENGINEERS INC , 2018. Vol. 61, no 3, p. 257-274
Keywords [en]
Documentation, information retrieval, information science, manuals, professional communication, search methods
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-40935DOI: 10.1109/TPC.2018.2826087ISI: 000443049000003Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85047011374OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-40935DiVA, id: diva2:1248084
Available from: 2018-09-13 Created: 2018-09-13 Last updated: 2019-01-04Bibliographically approved

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Lundin, JonatanEriksson, Yvonne

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