The cross self-confrontation method and challenges in researching the active information-seeking of young people

Nicole Boubée


This paper provides a presentation on cross self-confrontation (CSC) as a useful qualitative method to address the challenges in studying active information-seeking of youth. There are two great methodological challenges and a major theoretical issue. First, youth information-seeking behaviour is characterised by frequent heuristic reasoning, very quick ways of dealing with digital media, making it difficult to give an exhaustive account of actions. This fundamental characteristic has never been discussed from a methodological point of view. Second, a well-known problem is that young people may have difficulties in articulating all their thoughts. Third, young information seekers are frequently compared to expert information seekers. Therefore, what they aren’t doing is well known and what they are doing is unknown. The CSC method presented is based on confronting individuals with their own activity and also with the activity of others with the help of video recordings. The method emerged from educational research known as stimulated recall and developed for work analysis in occupational settings, in allowing individuals to comment on the activities of others. Expected benefits are to assist memory, increase the participants’ reflexivity and provide significant knowledge about “personal touch”, “personal dexterity”. To discuss the potential methodological and theoretical benefits of studying youth information-seeking behaviour, we examine CSC using data from our former research project in Library and Information Science with 30 students aged 10-19 in France, working in tandem on imposed and self-generated information tasks. The results contribute to knowledge about using image and copying and pasting in the youth information-seeking process.



Keywords: cross self-confrontation method, youth information-seeking behaviour, students, image, copy and paste.



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