AuthorAshley, Nancy Winniford
Diffusion of innovations.
Committee ChairWeisband, Suzanne P.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractNIR, network information retrieval, is the act of finding and retrieving information on interconnected computer networks. The research investigated the extent to which NIR awareness and use has diffused through a broad research population, and why and how academics become aware of and use NIR. Everett Rogers' diffusion of innovation theory was adapted to guide the investigation. A survey of 888 faculty members at the University of Arizona with Internet-accessible computer accounts resulted in a 32% return of surveys. Respondents from the various colleges at the university use between 20% and 39% of available NIR technologies, suggesting that NIR is in an early stage of diffusion in all colleges. Twenty-one one hour open-ended interviews were conducted with faculty from a variety of disciplines. Analysis of coded interview comments was used to test the usefulness of Rogers' theory in describing the diffusion of NIR. Predictions that mass media communication channels which go outside the local community will be more likely to result in awareness and use of NIR were not supported. Predictions that use of NIR would be associated with the perception that NIR (1) is compatible with needs and social norms, and (2) has relative advantage over previous practice, were supported. The predictions that use would be associated with perceptions of (1) compatibility with previous conditions, (2) low NIR complexity, and (3) trialability of NIR, were not supported. The explanatory power of the diffusion of innovation theory is improved for diffusion of NIR if NIR technologies are not studied in a vacuum. Rather, NIR technologies need to be studied in association with particular types of information resources (i.e. general interest and research-related resources) and particular types of communities (i.e. research communities). The study suggests that before NIR will diffuse in research communities, academics will need to agree that NIR dissemination of information will be rewarded in the promotion and tenure process. Such redefinition of social norms will help to create within research areas a critical mass of NIR users, and thus contribute to the diffusion of NIR.
Degree ProgramBusiness Administration