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Hicks, Alison
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Hicks, A. (2018). The theory of mitigating risk: Information literacy and language-learning in transition. (Doctoral dissertation). Högskolan i Borås
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The theory of mitigating risk: Information literacy and language-learning in transition
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This qualitative study explores the information literacy practices of students who were learning a language overseas as part of their undergraduate degree. Constructivist grounded theory and situational analysis were used to examine the information activities of 26 English-speakers from Australia, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Students were learning one of eight languages in 14 different American, Asian and European countries for a period of between four and 12 months overseas. Semi-structured interviews and photoelicitation method were used to give each participant the opportunity to present an explanatory narrative of their time overseas and to explicate nuanced and contextual information that is hard to verbalise. The study is informed by a theoretical framework that includes practice theory and transitions theory.


The theory of mitigating risk emerges from the study’s analysis and provides a rich explanation of how an engagement with information supports language-student transition to new and culturally unfamiliar information environments. The theory illustrates how academic, physical and financial stress that is produced through participation within a new setting catalyses the enactment of information literacy practices that subsequently mediate student transition from acting like a language-learner to becoming a language-learner during their time overseas. From an educational perspective, the theory of mitigating risk broadens understanding about the shape that information literacy takes within transition to a new intercultural context while setting the scene for the design of educational interventions that recognise the fluid and generative possibilities of this period. From a broader social perspective, the theory of mitigating risk contributes to research that explores how businesses and communities can respond to and prepare for increasingly flexible global movement.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Högskolan i Borås, 2018
Skrifter från Valfrid, ISSN 1103-6990
National Category
Information Studies
Research subject
Library and Information Science
urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-15000 (URN)978-91-983398-0-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-10-05, M402, Allégatan 1, Borås, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2018-08-16 Created: 2018-08-16 Last updated: 2018-09-12Bibliographically approved

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