This thesis explores the statement that the health information needs and behaviour of
the general public, namely health information consumers are comparable with those
of academics, health and social care professionals.
The research has been conducted in the broad Interpretist tradition, seeking to
understand rather than merely explain human behaviour.
A model depicting the health information and knowledge environment has been
developed to show the how the infonnation behaviour of the various populations in
the research are interpreted and where they are placed.
The provision, access and use of health information by consumers is the focus of the
inner core of the model and is the first theme of the thesis. Several discrete groups of
the information poor are investigated to explore their information needs and
The middle layer of the model depicts the second theme of this thesis focusing on the
attitudes of academics, health and social care professionals in their use and access of
health information and IT in everyday practice.
The information behaviour of the health information and library professional is the
focus of the third theme of the thesis and is represented by the outer layer of the
model. This theme explores the detail and the contribution of the role to the clinical
team, the use of Evidence Based Medicine and Clinical Governance.
Conclusions support the opening statement that the health information needs and
behaviour of the general public, namely health information consumers are comparable
with those of academics, health and social care professionals.
Recommendations are made to promote better and more frequent use of health
information and health information professionals in the everyday practice of health
and social care; to improve the access and provision of health information for
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.