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Exploring the everyday life information needs and the socio-cultural adaptation barriers of Syrian refugees in Scotland.

Martzoukou, Konstantina; Burnett, Simon



Purpose: This paper presents the research findings of the 'Syrian new Scots' Information Literacy Way-finding practices' research project, funded by the Information Literacy Group (ILG) of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). The aim of the project was to explore the information needs of 'Syrian new Scots' (the preferred name for refugees in Scotland), their habitual and adaptive information literacy practices and the barriers and enablers they encounter within their new socio-cultural setting via their interactions with people, tools and processes. Design/methodology/approach: Primary data was collected via interviews with three Local Authority Leads for Syrian Resettlement and focus groups with Syrian new Scots in three geographical locations in Scotland: two rural areas and one urban. Syrian research subjects were also involved in a drawing exercise that helped to contextualize the findings. Findings: The main information needs expressed by participants revolved around the learning of English language which was linked to addressing health related information needs, well-being, and community engagement. All participants also highlighted the issue of socio-cultural differences in fulfilling everyday life information needs (such as health and housing). Information provision to Syrian new Scots requires a more structured process that acknowledges personalized information needs and it is tailored to the different stages of the adaptation process. The findings suggest that the 'ways of knowing' that Syrian refugees bring with them are converging information experiences of past and new knowledge structures gained via different socio-cultural and migration experiences. Originality/value: The research findings of this project will be of interest to local and regional support organizations and community volunteer groups who contribute to the social wellbeing and social integration of Syrian refugees. In addition, they may be of interest to public libraries due to their role as centres for educational and cultural orientation sessions, and as places of support for newly settled Syrian refugees and the communities that embrace them.


MARTZOUKOU, K. and BURNETT, S. 2018. Exploring the everyday life information needs and the socio-cultural adaptation barriers of Syrian refugees in Scotland. Journal of documentation [online], 74(5), pages 1104-1132. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 3, 2018
Online Publication Date Sep 10, 2018
Publication Date Sep 10, 2018
Deposit Date May 3, 2018
Publicly Available Date Sep 10, 2018
Journal Journal of documentation
Print ISSN 0022-0418
Electronic ISSN 1758-7379
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 74
Issue 5
Pages 1104-1132
Keywords Syrian refugees; Health literacy; Community; Integration; Citizenship; Information literacy; Everyday life
Public URL


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