Dearman, D., Kellar, M., and Truong, K. N. An examination of daily information needs and sharing opportunities. In Proceedings of the 2008 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work (New York, NY, USA, 2008), CSCW ’08, ACM, pp. 679–688. [PDF]
The main argument of this work is that context-sensitive information needs can be supported by individuals in the social network. The authors support the idea that many contextual needs require specialized knowledge that is often not available on the Internet.
Under this assumption they conducted a 4-weeks diary study in which a diverse group of participants recorded the information they needed or that they wanted to share. They collected 1290 entries that were analyzed using grounded theory affinity analysis. They grouped the needs into 9 main categories with relative subcategories. Participants were able to satisfy their needs 45.3% of the time. Participants satisfied their information need by asking someone, going to a location where the information was available, look the answer on the web and user other methods suchg as the GPS, paper documents, trial and error and other media.
By looking qualitatively at the answers they observed some interesting facts: The timeliness of the information was a key factor and also the trust relationship with the source of the answer was an higly quoted variable that participants took into account.