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IASL Research Abstracts

IASL Research Abstracts: 136

Findings: Young gay males in the process of coming out seek information about identity issues with young gay adults in online environments. Fear and concealment of information seeking activities characterize the conditions under which these youth seek information.

Abstract: This inquiry examines information-seeking of young gay males about coming-out, taking a social constructionist perspective on gay identity. The investigation uses data collected from critical incident technique interviews in which these young men related their information needs, information-seeking activities, and the conditions of these activities. Findings show that they typically encountered three types of information needs; these are linked to self-labeling, consequences for self-identifying as gay, and forming an understanding of a gay identity. Participants' information-seeking typically involved interacting with gay young adults through online forums. However, they also experienced a period of time when they did not pursue their information needs about coming-out. Conditions most strongly characterizing information-seeking were the experience of fear and the concealment of information-seeking activities. These findings are considered in association with Chatman's (1996) Theory of Information Poverty. The discussion of findings also proposes directions for future research and information provision. See:

Hamer, J.S. (2003). Coming-out: Gay males' information seeking. School Libraries Worldwide, 9 (2), 73-89.

Subject Categories: 10, 16

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