Combatting “incomplete and false information spreading like wildfire throughout the community”

I’ve been compiling research about immigrant information seeking habits and technology use in human services. My plan was to read them thoroughly, analyze them with insight for different audiences (front line, upper management/Boards of agencies, policy-makers) to give them my take on what insight they might gain.

The reading and analysis has been a bit slow (i.e. not happening).

But, I’ve been compiling!

There is some great, insightful research out there and it’s valuable for you to read. And, given recent news about Haitians crossing into Canada with false information about the promises of asylum, it seems more important than ever to have a hard look at what we know and how to get accurate information into the hands of migrants, and everyone, really.

I mention immigrant info seeking and our need to better understand it in some of my workshops, but we really need a deeper dive.

We already know that technology and social media, including pre-arrival services, are potentially useful. But, getting into post-arrival, diaspora, uses of technology is also important to look at.

In the case of Haitians, a quick search revealed Health Literacy, Information Seeking, and Trust in Information in Haitians in the U.S. Perhaps there are some useful insights there for policy-makers and others trying to stem the tide of misinformation.

Let’s build the foundation

Instead of waiting until I’ve read all the research and perfected my analysis, I’m going to share what I’ve been finding and at least get this great research out there.

If you’re are interested in this research area and are not familiar with the work of University of Toronto’s Nadia Caidi, you should be. From 2008, Information Practices of Immigrants to Canada – A Review of the Literature (PDF). It’s 66 pages of awesome insight, taking information studies/science analysis and overlaying it with the migration and settlement process.

So useful.

From the Exec Summary:

“Despite the vast array of resources and services available to them, there is little research that examines the extent to which immigrants are able to adequately access and make use of government, settlement, and ethno-cultural information and services available to them. Relatively little research documents the ways in which newcomers and longer-established immigrants locate and access content in forms that are understandable and usable to them.

The purpose of this study is to examine the information needs, sources, and barriers to accessing information experienced by those who immigrate to Canada. In particular, we examine how both information needs and strategies for finding information change during the settlement process. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we synthesize and critically review a wide range of studies in the areas of Information Studies, Communications, Sociology, Social Work, Immigration and Settlement studies. We examine academic, community based, and “grey” literature.”

Read it. It’s your foundation to what comes next.

Information Practices of Immigrants to Canada – A Review of the Literature (PDF).

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