Exploring social aspects of task perception using cognitive sociology

Eun Youp Rha, Nicholas Belkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore effects of individuals' social context on their perception of a task, for better understanding of social aspects of task-based information seeking behavior. Design/methodology/approach: This study took a qualitative case approach and conducted semi-structured one-on-one interviews with 12 participants. A cross-context comparative approach was chosen to identify effects of the social contexts on individuals. For comparative analysis, the research population was tenured faculty members in two different disciplines, natural sciences and humanities. The interview data were analyzed and coded using NVivo12 through an open coding process. Findings: The results demonstrate that the same task type is differently perceived by individuals in different social contexts. Reasons for the different perceptions in the different contexts are associated with social factors of the disciplines, specifically social norms and practices. Originality/value: This study uses a novel theoretical framework, cognitive sociology, to examine social aspects of human perception in relation to task-based information seeking behavior, which has been little understood theoretically and empirically in the field of information science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAslib Journal of Information Management
StateAccepted/In press - 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


  • Cognitive sociology
  • Information seeking behavior
  • Social context of task
  • Social perception
  • Task perception
  • Task-based information seeking

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