Information seeking and mediated searching Part 4: Cognitive styles in information seeking

David Ellis, Tom Wilson, Allen Foster, Nigel Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Citations (SciVal)


This is the fourth in a series resulting from a joint research project directed by Professor Tom Wilson in the United Kingdom and Dr. Amanda Spink in the United States. The analysis reported here sought to test a number of hypotheses linking global/analytic cognitive styles and aspects of researchers' problem-solving and related information-seeking behavior. One hundred and eleven postdoctoral researchers were assessed for Witkin's field dependence/independence using Riding's Cognitive Styles Analysis and for Pask's holist/serialist biases using items from Ford's Study Processes Questionnaire. These measures were correlated with the researchers' perceptions of aspects of their problem-solving and information-seeking behavior, and with those of the search intermediary who performed literature searches on their behalf. A number of statistically significant correlations were found. Field-independent researchers were more analytic and active than their field-dependent counterparts. Holists engaged more in exploratory and serendipitous behavior, and were more idiosyncratic in their communication than serialists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)728-735
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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