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Facets of serendipity in everyday chance encounter: A grounded theory approach to blog analysis
Information Research
  • Victoria L Rubin, Western University
  • Jacquelyn Burkell, The University of Western Ontario
  • Anabel Quan-Haase, The University of Western Ontario
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Introduction. This paper explores serendipity in the context of everyday life by analyzing naturally occurring accounts of chance encounters in blogs.
Method. We constructed forty-four queries related to accidental encounters to retrieve accounts from GoogleBlog. From among the returned results, we selected fifty-six accounts that provided a rich description including a mention of an accidental find and a fortuitous outcome.
Analysis. We employed grounded theory to identify facets of serendipity and to explore their inter-connections.
Results. Based on the literature and the data analysis, we developed a model in which the find brings together all the facets of the serendipitous encounter. A person with a prepared mind (Facet A) realises the relevance of the find in the act of noticing (Facet B). The find is what people encounter by chance (Facet C) and what leads to a fortuitous outcome (Facet D). The find is the essence of the re-telling of the story, which involves reframing the encounter with the find as serendipitous.
Conclusions.Understanding everyday serendipity will allow for the effective support of serendipity in information technology. Our results suggest information systems should focus on enhancing the facets of noticing and prepared mind.


Originally published in Information Research.

Citation Information
Rubin, V.L., Burkell, J., and Quan-Haase, A. (2011). Facets of serendipity in everyday chance encounter: A grounded theory approach to blog analysis. Information Research, 16(3).