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This study was conducted as a way to begin to fill a gap in the literature regarding young people and hobby pursuit. Through intensive exploratory research, the study sought to explicate the information behaviors of gifted young people related to their hobby pursuit. Focus groups and home visits were conducted and participants were given the opportunity to review the results for accuracy. Thirty two young people participated in focus groups, twelve in home visits, and three in review of data analysis. It was found that three different themes are commonly at play in the hobby pursuit of gifted young people: "Always Activated," or the idea that even when participants are not actively engaged in hobby pursuit, hobbies still play an important role in their everyday behavior; "Adult Facilitated Access," referring to the ways that adults facilitate hobby pursuit in young people's lives - this theme speaks to the mediating role that adults must play in order to introduce young people to potential hobby interests and to support hobby pursuit once it has germinated; and "Autonomy," or the ways that gifted youth make choices about what to do at any given time, how to solve problems, and who to consult when outside help is deemed necessary. It was also found that the participants are very independent, preferring to address challenges on their own. They use a variety of information sources and they make complex decisions about how to share information about their hobbies based on the recipient's level of expertise. In addition, they make decisions about the extent to which feedback should be heeded, based on the level of expertise of the person providing the feedback. As a result of the study, it was determined that Everyday Life Information Seeking, Serious Leisure, and theories of intrinsic motivation can be used effectively with younger subjects, although the idea of adult facilitation needs to be addressed. It was also determined that a large number of young people are introduced to their hobbies through school programs, either special classes held once or twice a week (such as chorus or art) or after-school activities like debate clubs. This provides an argument for retaining funding for these programs. Further research will replicate the current study with a wider range of ages and will examine such factors as race and family make-up to determine their potential impact on phenomena related to hobbies and information behavior. In addition, more attention will be paid to hobby genesis and hobby development over time.
Gifted, Hobby, Information Behavior, Intrinsic Motivation, Serious Leisure, Youth
Date of Defense
September 23, 2013.
A Dissertation submitted to the School of Library and Information Studies in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Don Latham, Professor Directing Dissertation; Diana Rice, University Representative; Marcia Mardis, Committee Member; Mia Lustria, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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