To jointly negotiate a personal decision: a qualitative study on information literacy practices in midwifery counselling about contraceptives at youth centres in Southern Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction. The study is part of a project in which young women’s evaluation of information sources before choosing a contraceptive is studied. It focuses on young women meeting midwives for counselling about contraceptives. Conversations are information literacy practices with both parties negotiating about needed and appropriate information on which they will base decisions.
Method. Ten conversations between midwives and young women (18 to 22 years old) were recorded. Afterwards, both parties were individually interviewed (19 interviews).The transcriptions from both conversations and interviews formed the material for analysis
Analysis. Transcripts were thematically analysed based on the empirical content with use of ATLAS.ti software. Positioning theory was then applied.
Results. The conversations had a specific storyline, important for the positioning taking place. Midwives strive for positioning young women as making the choices. Choices are jointly made but expressed as personal. Thus a neoliberal discourse promoting personal and well-informed choices is present in the conversations.
Conclusion. When using positioning theory for understanding information literacy practices in health care settings, both the positions and the understanding of the storyline in use should be included in the analysis. The choice is constructed in a tension between an understanding of the individual’s self-expression and the opportunities offered by plastic sexuality and social expectations about individuals as responsible and well-informed citizens. Information literacy practice is understood as a contingent collaborative achievement and information literacy as ambiguous.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Information Studies


  • decision-making, everyday life, nursing & midwifery, health information, information literacy, Sweden, sexual health, contraceptives, library and information studies
Original languageEnglish
JournalInformation Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch

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