Dr Steven Buchanan

Reader

Computer and Information Sciences

Personal statement

Please note that from April 1st 2019 I will no longer be at Strathclyde having moved to University of Stirling as Professor of Human Information Behaviour.  I can be contacted via: s.j.buchanan@stir.ac.uk

My human information behaviour research examines how and why people seek information (or not), and effective channels and sources of information, and influencing factors.  I explore complex access and internalised behavioural factors, the former influenced by technology and literacy issues, the latter by social structures and norms.  My work provides insight into what information to provide, to whom, and how.  Much of my work addresses the enduring limitations of mass communication strategies, informing targeted interventions both physical and digital (and interplays between) in the socio-ecological context.

Indicative work includes: understanding the information needs and information seeking behaviours of young first time mothers from areas of multiple deprivations; examination of the rehabilitative cultural role of prison libraries; the role of public libraries in fostering cultural competencies and connections in disadvantaged communities, and effective public service digital design and engagement.  I also have extensive experience of applied research within the organisational context, including a commonly cited methodology that has been applied across a number of public and private sector organisations.

My research has significant practical application and impact, informing both policy and practice.  I have variously advised the Scottish Government and National Health Service on matters of effective information dissemination and digital literacy.  Recent work defining the role of people as information intermediaries has been adopted by the Scottish Government as a key action (defining professional competencies in the public sector) in their national Health Literacy Action Plan 2017-25.

Research funded by ESRC, EPSRC, and AHRC; and has a track record of research publications in top-quartile Information Science Index (ISI) ranked international journals.  Recipient of an Emerald Literati Review Outstanding Paper Award; and two Outstanding Teaching Certificates of Recognition.  Member of the ESRC Peer Review College and Carnegie Trust Research Assessor.

Publications

The information behaviours of maximum security prisoners : insights into self-protective behaviours and unmet needs
Canning Cheryl, Buchanan Steven
Journal of Documentation (2018)
Isolated, overwhelmed and worried : young first-time mothers asking for information and support online
Ruthven Ian, Buchanan Steven, Jardine Cara
Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology Vol 69, pp. 1073-1083 (2018)
https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.24037
Developing health information literacy in disadvantaged and dependent circumstances : the everyday role of Family Nurses
Buchanan Steven, Nicol Emma
Sixth European Conference on Information Literacy (2018)
Developing health information literacy in disengaged at-risk populations : insights to inform interventions
Buchanan Steven, Nicol Emma
Journal of Documentation (2018)
Relationships, environment, health and development : the information needs expressed online by young first-time mothers
Ruthven Ian, Buchanan Steven, Jardine Cara
Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology Vol 69, pp. 985-995 (2018)
Public libraries as cultural hubs in disadvantaged communities : developing and fostering cultural competencies and connections
Summers Sarah, Buchanan Steven
Library Quarterly Vol 88, pp. 286-302 (2018)
https://doi.org/10.1086/697707

more publications

Professional activities

Carnegie UK Trust #NotWithoutMe@the BBC
Participant
15/3/2017
Scottish Government (External organisation)
Advisor
2017
University of Texas Austin iSchool iForum Series Invited Speaker
Invited speaker
2017
2nd Annual Scottish Library and Information Council Digital and Information Literacy Symposium
Keynote/plenary speaker
18/11/2016
National Health Service Scotland Knowledge into Action (K2A) Expert Webex
Participant
9/11/2016
National Health Service Scotland Health Literacy Conference
Participant
26/10/2016

more professional activities

Projects

The Role of Public Libraries in Glasgow Communities in the 21st Century
Buchanan, Steven (Principal Investigator)
This studentship will investigate the public library (PL) role in supporting, empowering, enriching and connecting individuals, groups, and communities in the cultural context. The studentship will bring together theories and models of information behaviour with theories of cultural capital to better understand the PL role in developing the cultural competencies of individuals, and stimulating community engagement and cultural citizenship.
01-Jan-2017 - 30-Jan-2020
The Role of Public Libraries in Glasgow Communities in the 21st Century
Buchanan, Steven (Principal Investigator)
This studentship will investigate the public library (PL) role in supporting, empowering, enriching and connecting individuals, groups, and communities in the cultural context. The studentship will bring together theories and models of information behaviour with theories of cultural capital to better understand the PL role in developing the cultural competencies of individuals, and stimulating community engagement and cultural citizenship.
01-Jan-2015 - 30-Jan-2018
Understanding the Information Needs of Young First Time Mothers from Areas of Multiple Deprivation
Buchanan, Steven (Principal Investigator) Ruthven, Ian (Co-investigator)
"Information informs, guides, and empowers; but persistent barriers to access and use are societally divisive and as yet not fully understood, particularly amongst marginalised groups. Addressing enduring issues of information poverty, this project seeks to better understand the information needs of young first time mothers (YFTM) aged 21 or under from deprived areas, and associated barriers, by identifying and better understanding the: everyday information needs, seeking preferences, and challenges of YFTM; and the +/- factors influencing YFTM engagement with supportive services, and the appropriate assistive intervention points and methods.
The UK has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe, with associated conception rates correlated to multiple deprivation indexes. At risk groups are disadvantaged and disengaged, with significant health and wellbeing issues reported for both mother and child. Intervention programmes focus on early parenting needs with on-going holistic educational support considered key to long-term social inclusion/reintegration; however, there is evidence that mainstream services are failing to provide such support with significant unmet YFTM information needs reported, and overarching concerns raised regarding equity of access to information in both the physical and digital space.
A significant challenge in addressing holistic YFTM information needs relates to our limited understanding of young peoples' everyday information needs, preferences and seeking behavior generally, and more specifically, in impoverished and/or marginalized circumstances (limiting effective tailored service design and delivery considered key to access and use). There are complex and as yet not fully understood access barriers and internalised behavioural barriers to consider, the former influenced by digital divide and information literacy issues, the latter by social structures and norms; barriers that we believe put YFTM, and in turn their children, at greater risk of becoming impoverished information outsiders, living a stratified and disengaged existence. This project, recognising the importance of information access to economic and social mobility, and health and wellbeing; will comprehensively identify and investigate YFTM information needs, seeking preferences and challenges, and advance our understanding of the +/- factors influencing engagement of marginalised groups in both the physical and digital space, including appropriate assistive intervention points and strategies to not only meet immediate needs, but to foster independent lifelong learning and on-going social inclusion. Output will guide both policy (what to provide and from whom) and process (how to provide) of public information service providers (including collaborative aspects).
This project, which will bring together theories of social capital and social networks with theories and models of information behaviour to address issues of information poverty in both the physical and digital space; aligns with ESRC strategic priority influencing behaviour and informing interventions, and associated questions: how to understand behaviour and risks at multiple levels and a variety of contexts; how and why do behaviours change; and how does the interplay of child, family, community and wider society influence inequalities in wellbeing?"
01-Jan-2015 - 30-Jan-2017
Scottish ESRC Doctoral Training Centre DTG 2011 | Breslin Davda, Frances Mary
Buchanan, Steven (Principal Investigator) Ruthven, Ian (Co-investigator) Breslin Davda, Frances Mary (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2013 - 01-Jan-2019
Understanding the Information Needs of Visually Impaired Young People
Buchanan, Steven (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2013 - 30-Jan-2016
EPSRC DOCTORAL TRAINING GRANT | Mycock, Jane Victoria
Buchanan, Steven (Principal Investigator) McMenemy, David (Co-investigator) Mycock, Jane Victoria (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2012 - 02-Jan-2016

more projects

Address

Computer and Information Sciences
Livingstone Tower

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