Informal and Non-formal Environments: Young people as information users

This sub-study concentrates on the ways young people construct health related cognitive authorities in their free time. When compared to formal school settings, in informal and non-formal environments, authentic information needs and lack of centralized authority figures are highlighted. Moreover, peers can become important cognitive authorities.

Although this study does not focus on cognitive authorities in schools, it benefits from data collected in the school-focused sub-studies. These include student interviews and classroom observation data. Additionally, young people’s discussions in Finnish online forums Suomi24 and Demi and questionnaire data collected from the users of the Demi forum are analysed.

In this study, the concept of cognitive authority is connected to that of information literacy. The ability to recognize different authorities is viewed to be part of competencies shaped as people interact with information and develop ways of recognising what kind of information is important and reliable and how this information can be accessed and used.

Publications connected to this sub-study:

Hirvonen, N., Tirroniemi, A. & Kortelainen, T. (2019) The cognitive authority of user-generated health information in an online forum for girls and young women. Journal of Documentation,75(1), 78–98, doi: 10.1108/JD-05-2018-0083

Huhta, A-M., Hirvonen, N. & Huotari, M-L. (2018) Health literacy in web-based health information environments: systematic review of concepts, definitions, and operationalization for measurement. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 20(12):e10273. doi: 10.2196/10273

Huhta, A-M., Hirvonen, N. & Huotari, M-L. (2018) Concepts related to health literacy in online information environments: a systematic review. Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Literacy 2017. Springer International Publishing, Cham, Switzerland.  (Communications in Computer and Information Science series), pp. 460–469.

Last updated: 15.5.2019