Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Ecology

Major Professor

Mary Frances Drake

Committee Members

Cheryl Buehler, Carl Dyer, Roger L. Jenkins


The purposes of this study were to: (1) identify segments displaying different information search patterns among employed purchasers of apparel; (2) to determine the consumer, situational, product, and market characteristics that correlate with each segment; and (3) to develop an exploratory framework of the processes which produce characteristics of information search patterns.

A random sample of 3,000 female consumers, age 25-44, was sent questionnaires resulting in a 47 percent return rate (n=1410). Only employed women were used for this research (n=1034).

Principal Components Factor Analysis with Varimax Rotation was used: (a) to find out factors of information search activities, and (b) to reduce lifestyle items and evaluate criteria items. Multiple regression was performed to examine the influence of consumer, situational, product, and market characteristics on the information search patterns.

Five factors were extracted representing different patterns underlying the information search activities used by employed women for the selection of employment apparel. They included print-oriented, audio-visual oriented, store intensive, professional advice, and pal advice searcher. Five profiles of employed women information search patterns were developed by capturing the characteristics of consumer, product, and situation.

A schematic diagram of the relationship between patterns of information search and the constructs of self-confidence, systematic/heuristic processing and active/passive search was provided within an exploratory framework of the process which produce characteristics of information search patterns. Therefore, an understanding of consumer information search activities is essential in the design of efficient communication among consumer, marketers, and regulators.

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