Sent: Tuesday, July 02, 2002 5:02 PM
My name is Darla Fraser, we spoke briefly after your lecture at FIS to the “Introduction to Information Technology” Course last Wednesday.
Professionally I am employed as a Data Analysis Co-Ordinator for the Ontario Early Years Initiative in the County of Dufferin. Academically, I am pursuing the newly offered “thesis option” at FIS. My plan is to begin with a reading course supervised by Prof. Elaine Toms. …
As we discussed briefly, I am hoping to research “information dissemination”. Eventually for my thesis I would like to examine ways and means to distribute information (say on child development) to parents who are not necessarily looking for this information. I believe that if this information can get out there and be embraced it could actually change some parental behaviour in regards to child rearing. To begin my reading course I hope to ideally find some case studies of actual successful distribution of information that resulted in some behaviour modification.
I realize you have much experience in public information dissemination as well as social initiatives (Better Beginning, Better Futures to name one). I was wondering if you could suggest any articles or books to help me get a handle on this concept. You had mentioned, The Social Life of Information by John Seely Brown and what I understood might be Everett M. Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations?
Your request has a novel starting parameter — parents not looking for information. Most information studies are geared towards helping someone find something that they _are_ looking for.
There is a small field of practice called bibliotherapy in which reading is part of the intervention technique for changing client perception and behaviour. http://www.ed.gov/databases/ERIC_Digests/ed357333.html
One of the primary themes in the two recommendations made earlier is the social context in which information occurs. More recent studies on information spaces and systems re-inforce its fundamental contribution to the information creating, organizing and sharing process. Andrew Clement can provide you with pointers to both leading edge and classical work in this area.
In the adult literacy area, the work of Paolo Friere, Pedagogy of the Oppressed is a classic that combines both learning and community development.
Another perspective might come from looking at the literature of marketing and advertising. These two related fields deliberately attempt to capture our attention through manipulation of conscious and subconscious elements of our minds. One of the more current works in this field that considers web sites in particular is The Attention Economy by Davenport & Beck.
Better Beginnings, Better Futures has an ongoing research office at Queen’s that may be able to provide you with research on the efficacy of its model for changing behaviours. Best Start, the pre-cursor to Early Years is still active. You may want to contact or visit them here in Toronto. www.beststart.org