Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Food logging and information literacy @iSchoolPam - Sheila blogs from #ecil2017

I'm going to be doing some round-up and catch-up blog posts from the European Conference on Information Literacy. My colleague at the iSchool and fellow liveblogger, Pamela McKinney presented on Food Logging: a Practice-Based Exploration of an Information Literacy Landscape (coauthored with Andrew Cox and Paula Goodale) last week. The slides are embedded below.
She was reporting on a small scale research project. They recruited participants from the the University of Sheffield, with the study advertised to both students and staff. Participants were given the choice of being interviewed (5 participants) or attending a focus group (7 participants). Pam and her researcher colleagues found that there was a variety of practice in food logging: for example
There were different motivations: participants might be interested in their bodies, or were interested in gadgets. Some combined food logging and activity logging, but tracking food was often seen as a private matter that they might not want to share. The act of recording the information Was important, as a way of gaining control.
The data was analysed using Lloyd's three modalities of the information literacy landscape: epistemic, social and corporeal. In terms of these modalities: firstly, looking at the epistemically modality, the food logger is an active creator of information, and they have to interpret the information provided by apps. The information was mainly qualitative.
In terms of the corporeal modality, loggers distrusted visible representations e.g. their image in a mirror. Logging de-depleasured food, and was a way of controlling food and the body.
In terms of the social modality, there was a reluctance in this sample to share information. Participants were worried about being boring, they did not want to de-pleaasure food for others or encourage others into food disorders. In terms of infolit more generally, the choice of app was influenced by personal recommendations and specific features, but not that much research into apps was done. Data accuracy (the correct quantification of different types of food) was important. They are critical and aware around this issue and frustrated by things that prevented them judging accurately (e.g. Vague, unfamiliar or inaccurate measures). Participants learnt about the calorific count of food, and other information about how to manage their food intake.
Photo above by Sheila Webber: the "plateau de matelot" at a local brasserie (the starter!) not sure how much this lot would log in at, but it tasted good.

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