A Cognitive Model of Document Use During a Research Project
Study II: Decisions at the Reading and Citing Stages
Peiling Wang
School of Information Sciences
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996
Marilyn Domas White
College of Library and Information Services
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

        This paper reports on the follow-up study of a two-part project designed to explain the decision making process underlying how academic researchers identify, consult or read, and cite documents during a research project. A qualitative study, the project gathered data via structured interviews from 15 of the 25 academic economists in the original 1992 project. They provided additional use and decision factors on documents considered relevant and selected in the original study plus documents cited in their written products but not in the original searches. Of particular interest in this paper are the decision rules and criteria they apply to documents as they progress through the project. The first study in 1992 emphasized the identification/selection stage and resulted in a document selection model; the 1995 study concentrates on the reading and citing stages. The model developed in the paper shows document use as a decision making process with decisions occurring at three points or stages during a research project: selecting, reading, and citing. It is an expansion of the document selection model developed in the 1992 study, identifies more criteria, and clarifies the critria and rules that are in use at each stage. The follow-up study found that all but one of the criteria identified in selection re-occur in connection with reading and citing decisions but also identified 14 new criteria. It also found that decision rules applied in selection decisions are applied throughout the project.