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Information search begins with the user’s problem. Gap between user’s knowledge about the problem or topic and what the user needs to know to solve the problem is the information need.

The user’s ability to explain questions to the information can expect to change according to his or her understanding of the problem. At the lower levels of the specificity scale, questions are most suitable and experiential needs most obvious.

Active of seeking information include searching and browsing, while passive types consist of overseeing and simply being aware.

These active of information seeking may directed, or undirected depending on whether the user seeks out information for a specific reason or randomly reveal to information (Bates, 2002).

Gather from an early study of secondary school students in 1983, Kuhlthau’s information search has tested over the past two decades through multiple studies involving diverse populations.

Based mainly on the personal model theory of George Kelly, the major theorist who influenced Kuhlthau, the information search portrays “information seeking as a process of construction” (Kuhlthau, 2005, p. 230).

Through early studies, Kuhlthau could identify the following six stages that people go through when searching for information:

1.       Task Initiation. This point the person realizes that information will be required to finish the assignment.

2.       Topic Selection. During this stage the person is trying to select and identify a topic to investigate.

3.       Prefocus Exploration. The purpose of this stage is to search for information in order to form a focus.

4.       Focus Formulation. Based on the information encountered, the task is to form a focus.

5.       Information Collection. During this stage the person is gathering information related to the focused topic.

6.       Search Closure. The final stage of the process, the person is completing the search process and is preparing to present the information (Kuhlthau, 2005).

These what users experience during various stages of the search which with feelings (that is, doubt, optimism, confusion, frustration, doubt, clarity, confidence, and relief).

Thoughts (that is, ambiguity, increased interest, and specificity) and actions (seeking relevant and relevant information)

The information search also relies on the assignment under investigation to have a distinct starting point and ending, while wanting “construction and learning to succeeded” (Kuhlthau, 2005, p. 230).


Bates, M.J. Toward an integrated model of information seeking and searching. New Review of Information Behaviour Research 2002, 3, 1-15. Also available at http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/bates/ (Accessed December 2011).

Kuhlthau, C.C. Seeking Meaning : A Process Approach To Library and Information Services, 2nd ed.; Libraries Unlimited: Westport, Conn., 2004.