Information Behaviour in Accounts of the Menopause Transition

  • Alison Jane Yeoman

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This study examined women’s information behaviour and decision-making during the menopause transition. The findings were compared with expectations from McKenzie’s Model of Information Practices in Everyday Life Information Seeking (developed from a study of twin-pregnancy).

Methods: There were two strands to the study: 1) An evaluation of the service provided by a community menopause clinic. For this strand 199 patients registered at the clinic completed questionnaires (response rate 92.1%) giving their views about the clinic and data about their information practices relating to the menopause. Six GPs based locally to the clinic were interviewed by telephone. 2) Thirtyfive telephone/face-to-face interviews were carried out with midlife women to investigate their information behaviour relating to the menopause. Analysis: Descriptive statistics were used for the questionnaire, the interview transcripts were analysed qualitatively using NVIVO software.

Findings: The menopause can be a challenging time and finding advice/information that is tailored to a woman’s individual set of circumstances can be challenging in itself. Women particularly value other women’s ‘menopause stories’ which provide validation and context for their own experiences. Testing the McKenzie model in a different, yet related, context demonstrated that it is robust and flexible enough to permit adaptation. However it did not provide sufficient scope for the fluidity of information practices in the complex context of the menopause in which women often
engage in mutual exchanges of support and may themselves take on the role of ‘expert’.
Conclusions: This study looked beyond information-seeking to how women use
information to inform their decisions. The process of testing the McKenzie model
contributes to theory development. Further testing in different contexts would support the
development of a more generic model and could contribute to a discussion of whether
gender can justifiably be considered as a variable in information behaviour.
Date of Award25 Nov 2009
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
Sponsors Arts and Humanities Research Council
SupervisorChristine Urquhart (Supervisor) & Anoush Simon (Supervisor)

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