Measuring Dhaka university students' internet use behavior of the Department of Information Science and Library Management.

Author:Islam, Maidul
 
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Introduction

The Internet is an inseparable part of today's educational system. The academic increasingly depends on the Internet for educational purposes. A majority of academic and research institutions provide Internet service to students, teachers and researchers (Kaur, 2008). Students, especially, take advantage of the Internet in a multi-functional way and are using the information they access via the Internet in their homework ever more frequently. It is important to explore the information behaviors of the students who are being educated in the field of Information Science and Library Management since the role they are going to play in establishing connections between information sources and users is crucial. For this reason, this study explores the characteristics of Information Science and Library Management students' use of the Internet, including the purposes for which students use the Internet, which search engines they prefer and their Internet skills.

Literature Review

There have been many studies undertaken in recent years concerning how and for what purpose individuals use the Internet. In a very recent study in Bangladesh by Mostafa (2011) showed that a high percentage of Internet use among students. More than 56 percent of the respondents use the Internet for educational purposes. Safdar et al. (2010) revealed that the students were new Internet users but used it regularly. Most had access to the Internet at home. They used this technology mostly for communication and educational purposes. In another study Nazim and Saraf (2006) showed that all respondents are using Internet because of quality information they got through the Internet. Majority of respondents use Internet for research work because the university library has provided access to a large number of databases and online journals. Hong et al. (2003) indicated that students had positive attitudes toward using the Internet as a learning tool, adequate basic knowledge of the Internet. Fidzani (1998) and Clougherty (1998) said that when we look at the studies on the information-seeking behaviors of undergraduate students, we see that these studies are generally related to their information-seeking behavior in conjunction with the use of the university library. Some other studies examine the effect of different disciplines on students' information-seeking behavior. Kerins, Madden and Fulton (2004) tested the information-seeking behaviors of law and engineering students in Ireland with an experimental study and compared the results with the information-seeking behavior characteristics defined by Leckie, Pettigrew and Sylvain (1996).

While these studies discuss broad areas of students' information-seeking behaviors, it can be observed that other studies focused on the Internet and World Wide Web. Van Scoyoc and Cason (2006), who studied students' library use habits, showed that undergraduate students use the Internet and online education modules but do not use university libraries' Web pages and sources. Armstrong et al. (2001) indicated that students' information-seeking processes centered around locating electronic resources, that the Internet is used more than other information channels and that very few differences can be seen among student groups in the use of electronic sources of information. In a study conducted with undergraduate and graduate students, Aiken et al. (2003) tried to identify students' purposes in using the Internet. Davis and Cohen (2001); Davis (2002) and Robinson (2003) investigated the effect of the Internet and Web on students' term projects, it has been understood that students are referring to electronic sources more but that they need training on documentation processes and format. Oppenheim and Smith (2001), of Loughborough University, conducted a similar study on information science students. They analyzed the types and years of materials these students used in the bibliographical references in their assignments and dissertations. The results of a questionnaire conducted by Majid and Tan (2002) in order to identify information source preferences of computer engineering students indicate that the students primarily use books with the Internet as the third important source of information. In such studies, it has been stated by Adame et al. (2005) and Healy et al. (2005) that the students are eager to use the Internet for health topics, gender and experience affect Internet use characteristics and computer-aided education is effective in student success. Another study, Roman (2003) examining the effect of gender on Internet use by library science students concluded that there is no significant difference between male and female subjects' rate of Internet use, but their Internet skills do affect whether or not they find the Internet useful. In addition to studies related to students' general Internet use characteristics, there are studies about their Web usage characteristics. Hsieh-Yee's (2001) review is one of these and is important in terms of introducing related literature since it is comprised of studies conducted between the years 1995-2000. In addition to this review, there are other studies in the literature - such as Fidel et al. (1999) - examining students' information-seeking behavior on the Web: Markland's (2005) study of search engine preferences and Hess (1999), Kyung-Sun (2001) and Nahl's (1998), study of the effect of students' experiences and cognitive structures on browsing.

Methodology

This research has been conducted for the purposes of identifying the information-seeking behaviors and especially the Internet-use characteristics of the undergraduate students of the Information Science and Library Management Department, Dhaka University, Bangladesh and to discover what kinds of differences in these behaviors and characteristics may exist between different class ranks. In this study, a questionnaire was given to forty five students from each grade level, 180 students total. The questions were designed to solicit information about the purposes for which they seek information, how they meet their informational needs, their frequency of use and the purposes for which they use the Internet, where they can access the Internet, the qualities they look for in the information they find, which search engine they use most frequently and finally, their knowledge and skills in relation to the Internet. The obtained input data were then evaluated using SPSS and the findings have been interpreted.

Results

Need for Information

Table 1 shows the need for information for the purpose of homework rated 15 (33.33%) for the first year, 17 (37.78%) for the second years, 12 (26.67%) for those in the fourth year and at the top of the list with 19 (42.22%) for third year students. Information seeking for the purpose of homework is followed in second place by information seeking to trace "the latest developments in an interest area." 12 (26.67%) of the students who indicated as their first choice seeking information to trace the latest developments on the area of interest are in their first year, 10 (22.22%) are second year students, 7 (15.56%) are third year students and 11 (24.44%) are in their last year. Among the fourth year students, the most important information-seeking...

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