Furthering Understanding of Information Literacy through the Social Study of Information Poverty

Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Information needs, Information retrieval -- Social aspects


An approach to understanding one phenomenon is to explore the antithesis of that phenomenon. One opposite to information literacy is information poverty, and one approach that has been taken in studying information poverty centres on perceived cultural and behavioural issues within the social context. This social lens focuses on how the information poor have difficulty assessing their own information needs or knowing when those needs are fully met. Using Childers and Post's (1975) structure for identifying the information poor, this article reviews modern literature, theories, and models related to this social approach to information poverty in an attempt to suggest information behaviours that should be considered in information literacy research.