“It’s something I always wanted to do”: Serious leisure, self-actualisation and social engagement

I recently published a paper in the Journal of Documentation (Mansourian, 2021) to report the findings from a research project that I have done from 2018 to 2020 in the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University. In this project, I explored various information activities of serious leisure participants to discover and depict their information seeking and sharing patterns. My research approach was qualitative in an interpretive paradigm, and I used semi-structured interviews to collect the data. Then I used thematic analysis method to analyse the collected data and identify the concepts and categories. I have also used a maximum variation sampling strategy to find people from different backgrounds with different stories. By the end of the project, I interviewed twenty volunteers and I had a chance to talk to people from a broad range of hobbies, amateurism and voluntary activities. They have been actively involved in cycling, gardening, knitting, bushwalking, weaving, bonsai growing, amateur filmmaking and so on.

Gardening is a form of Serious Leisure. Photo by Yazdan Mansourian, Wagga Wagga, January 2021

The results revealed serious leisure is a unique context in terms of the abundance, richness and diversity of information activities embedded into a vast range of actions. Furthermore, information seeking and sharing in serious leisure is not only a source of personal satisfaction for the participants, but it also can provide them with a sense of purpose in a meaningful journey towards self-actualisation and social inclusion. Information professionals working across the GLAM sector can use this study to enhance their information services to boost society’s leisure and recreational activities, which are necessary for everyone’s emotional and mental wellbeing. Serious leisure participants are usually among the devoted clients of libraries, museums, archives and galleries and they typically use information services very frequently.


Mansourian, Y. (2021). Information activities in serious leisure as a catalyst for self-actualisation and social engagement. Journal of Documentation, https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-08-2020-0134

Published by Yazdan Mansourian

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