SIS Seminar Series - Rebekah Willson


Undergoing a transition is a lengthy process that is frequently a time of upheaval, leaving individuals in a liminal state as they make sense of their new reality, ‘betwixt and between’ the old and the new. The challenge in researching individuals undergoing a transition is to adequately capture their reality, which shifts as they progress through this period of change. Using the example of the transition from doctoral student to early career academic, Transitions Theory (a theory developed in the discipline of nursing to address how individuals respond to changing life circumstances) and liminality (a concept developed in the discipline of anthropology to understand rites of passage) will be discussed as a lens to help understand the transition experience. Several aspects of transitional experiences will be explored, including shifting information needs, changing information resources, information seeking for sense-making purposes, how individuals mediate between the known and the unknown, and the importance of affective experiences during transitions