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Barriers to Information: How Formal Help…

Barriers to Information: How Formal Help Systems Fail Battered Women…

by Roma M. Harris

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For a research-based book, this is very readable and fairly jargon-free. The authors study the topic of wife assault (aka domestic violence), in an attempt to see how women in this situation would go about finding information and the success they would have in receiving relevant information. Sadly, their findings reveal that women in these situations do not find the information they need, not because of the age-old "learned helplessness" theory (that says these women do not even attempt to find help) but because of the unresponsiveness of the so-called helping agencies (most notably, the police and medical professionals do not provide relevant information). While this book is somewhat dated (about 15 years old), from the other research I have read on this topic, not much has changed so this is really the seminal work on the subject. This book also serves as a brief primer on the study of human information behavior. ( )
1 vote sweetiegherkin | Mar 3, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0313286809, Hardcover)

Ordinary citizens face a frustrating and increasingly complex maze of human service agencies when they seek help for everyday problems, even though one stop information and referral centers have been established to facilitate information seeking in many communities. This book explores the relationship between the information needs of battered women and the information response provided through social networks in six communities of varying size.

The book is based on an award-winning study, in which 543 women described their knowledge of the problem of woman abuse and what kinds of information resources would be helpful to an abused woman. In the second phase of the study, 179 interviews were conducted with service providers identified by these women as likely sources of help. A comparison of the interviews demonstrates that the response of information delivery systems does not adequately meet the needs and expectations of those women who would seek such services. The final chapters of the volume focus on the implications of this study for the design of social service systems.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:30 -0400)

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