Gender difference in Information Seeking of research scholars at University of Sargodha, Pakistan.

Author:Khan, Arif
 
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Introduction

In this modern period, information play vital role in people's life especially in the life of academic researchers. All users possess their own purposes and needs for which they wish to seek information. They want to access different types of information sources such as journals, books, magazines both in print and digital form, audio/video, delivering and receiving conversation for managing research activities and updating their knowledge. Mills, Knezek, & Wakefield (2013) argue that the use of info graphics most preferred by readers rather than plain texts to learn in everyday life. Video, graphics and interactive materials with great pictorial and filmic features are preferred first by people instead of traditional materials such as books in same subject area.

According to Wilson (2000) information seeking behavior as "the way through which people search for their required information and then make use of that information". This term was first used by Wilson in his paper on information seeking behaviour (Tom D Wilson, 1999). Simply, the information seeking behavior is how people seek, manage, require, use, and share information in multiple contexts and contents. While seeking information, the individual may interact with manual information systems (such as a newspaper or a library) or with computer based information systems such as the World Wide Web.

The earlier work done on information searching shows that with rapid development in the field of IT, it became necessary for the users of information that they must change their seeking behavior to efficiently and effectively access their required information in this jumble technological environment. So with passage of time and with the emergence of new technologies people must have to alter their methods of searching knowledge. Regarding study, search for update and fresh knowledge, students consider one major part to access to information quickly and on time. Expectation becomes wider for the use of electronic resources from those students who studying at high level due to high level course and shortage of time. There is correlation of students (mainly academic researchers) with digital resources of information for fast and quick access. Information has become an essential part of our daily life. Now-adays the use of internet by health specialists and patients increase because they both use e-mail to contact with each other (Cline & Haynes, 2001), p.673.

It is also worth mentioning that now in the digital era, people desire to get information through internet instead of traditional printed resources because of easy and timely access to required information (Gray, Klein, Noyce, Sesselberg, & Cantrill, 2005). Whereas, the library plays an important role to understand the users' information behavior and in doing so it develops academic collection, databases, devising online services facilities and improving services to properly meet information search of users (Devi & Dlamini, 2013). It is no exception for library professionals to understand the users' information behavior and to modify library services accordingly.

The information seeking behavior of researchers in digital environment at the University of Sargodha has been assessed by the second author in her MPhil study dissertation and found that the use of electronic resources by doctoral students are useful to increase their knowledge for research or study purposes. The study also indicates that there are countless digital resources available for research student within campus and doctoral students face reasonably several challenges in their use of these electronic resources.

However, the same study identified that there is a dire need to conduct a comprehensive study on gender difference in the information behavior of research scholars in the field of social and natural science subjects. It is therefore, that we intend to examine difference in the information behavior demonstrated by male and female scholars and also to explore what kind of problems they face while seeking information in the digital environment. This study also attempt to determine gender-wise perception, interest, frequency of using e-resources that are utilized by natural and social sciences research scholars at the University of Sargodha.

Literature Review

Information is an old English word and it appear in one of Chaucer's tale sometime between 1372 and 1386 (Schement, 1993). Capurro & Hjorland (2003) take its origin back to Latin and Greek terms of the pre-Christian era. Information seeking, a process in which humans purposefully engage in order to change their state of knowledge. Information seeking also describes the action by computers to match and display information objects" (Marchionini, 1997). Information behavior encompasses information seeking as well as the totality of other unintentional or passive behavior such as seeing or encountering information (Case, 2012).

With the emergence of internet that had completely changed the whole world functions and shifted it into developed informatics society (Tahir, Mahmood, & Shafique, 2008). Technologists believe that learning through information communication technologies improve learning...

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