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What Is Known About the Impact of Impairments on Information Seeking and Searching?

October 2020

Published onOct 31, 2020
What Is Known About the Impact of Impairments on Information Seeking and Searching?

This literature review focussed on sixty-nine journal articles on various impairments/disabilities (used interchangeably in the article) and information seeking and searching. Most articles are from 2000 onward, but a small percentage are from the 1990s. Synonyms for information discovery and the impairments were used when searching in bibliographic databases.

Noted is the distinction between medical versus social views on disabilities, how disabilities are categorized in different study areas, and areas with more study than others, such as physical impairments having a higher percentage of studies than the motor and sensory impairments.

The literature review was categorized into three categories: cognitive, sensory, and motor impairments; each category was then broken down into information seeking and information searching. Some key findings include: many articles dealt with one impairment only, thus limiting search results; barriers were written about more than solutions; studies need to integrate information discovery better and use with the day-to-day activities of participants; the length of time a person had a disability (i.e., born with as opposed to acquired later in life) needs more investigation and any differences noted; and the need to increase study on how mediators (those who assist others with a disability) affect information-seeking activities. - AA

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