Exploring information experiences through phenomenography


  • Christine Yates
  • Helen Partridge
  • Christine Bruce




phenomenography, qualitative research,


Phenomenography is a qualitative research approach that seeks to explore variation in how people experience various aspects of their world. Phenomenography has been used in numerous information research studies that have explored various phenomena of interest in the library and information sphere. This paper provides an overview of the phenomenographic method and discusses key assumptions that underlie this approach to research. Aspects including data collection, data analysis and the outcomes of phenomenographic research are also detailed. The paper concludes with an illustration of how phenomenography was used in research to investigate students’ experiences of web-based information searching. The results of this research demonstrate how the phenomenographic approach yields insights into variation, making it possible to develop greater understanding of the phenomenon as it was experienced, and to draw upon these experiences to improve and enhance current practice.

Author Biographies

Christine Yates

Christine Yates is a Doctoral Candidate in Information Studies at Queensland University of Technology. Her research is investigating how health information literacy is experienced among Australians aged 45-64 years. Christine has a strong research interest in community information literacy. Email: cl.yates@qut.edu.au

Helen Partridge

Helen Partridge is Professor in the Information Studies Group, School of Information Systems at Queensland University of Technology in Australia. Her research focuses on the way people experience information in their everyday life, she specializes in qualitative research.

Christine Bruce

Christine Bruce is Professor in the Information Studies Group, School of Information Systems at Queensland University of Technology. She has an extensive background in qualitative and interpretive research, including phenomenography, action research, and grounded theory.