Cognitive appraisals and information-seeking achievement emotions: A qualitative study of Swedish primary teacher students

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Purpose – Primary teachers play a vital role in fostering pupils’ successful futures. Therefore, gaining knowledge of primary teacher students’ learning processes, including the achievement of information-seeking skills, is crucial. The aim of this paper is to understand better the interplay between cognitive appraisals and emotions in the constructivist process of learning and achieving information-seeking skills.
Design/methodology/approach – In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with six Swedish primary teacher students. The analysis of qualitative data was deductive and theory-driven, guided by Kuhlthau’s information search process model, Scherer’s semantic space of emotions and Pekrun’s control-value theory of achievement emotions.
Findings – Anger/frustration, enjoyment and boredom were identified as activity emotions and anxiety, hopelessness and hope as prospective outcome emotions. The retrospective outcome emotions found were pride, joy, gratitude, surprise and relief. The appraisals eliciting the achievement emotions were the control appraisals uncertainty/certainty (activity and prospective outcome) and oneself/other (retrospective), and value appraisals negative/positive intrinsic motivation (activity) and failure/success (prospective and retrospective). The interplay between appraisals and emotions was complex and dynamic. The processes were individually unique, non-linear and iterative, and the appraisals did not always elicit emotions.
Originality/value – The study has theoretical and methodological implications for information behaviour research in its application of appraisal theories and the Geneva affect label coder. In addition, it has practical implications for academic librarians teaching information-seeking skills.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-307
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Documentation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2023-Oct-19

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Pedagogy (50301)


  • information literacy
  • information-seeking behaviour
  • information-seeking emotions
  • achievement emotions
  • emotions
  • pre-service teachers
  • teacher students
  • teacher education


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