The Information-Seeking Habits of Baptist Ministers
The aim of this article is to determine how Baptist ministers seek information. Further research questions were used to narrow down the broad aim to a workable level. What causes ministers to seek and stop seeking information? What sources do they use? How do the information-seeking habits change as they pursue their various roles? A multiple-case study design was used. Ten ministers were interviewed with a protocol that used the Critical Incident Technique. Interviews were transcribed and coded in order to identify patterns. Baptist ministers sought information in order to accomplish a wide variety of administrative tasks, prepare for sermons, and provide counsel. When ministers searched for information in the role of administrators, they preferred informal sources of information but often used formal sources also. When searching as preachers, they used formal sources. Level of effort was influenced by experience, potential impact, and the importance of the task. When they had enough information to complete a task and when collecting more information was not worth the effort, ministers stopped looking for information. I concluded that Baptist ministers varied their information-seeking process based upon the roles they played, primarily the roles of administrator and preacher.