Information needs and seeking behavior of law faculty members: a survey of the University of Peshawar and its affiliated law colleges.

Author:Khan, Ghalib


Legal education is a multi-disciplined and multi-purpose education. It aims at developing skilled human resources to strengthen the legal system and has a major role in national reconstruction, development and social change (Sathe, 1989). Information has become a critical factor in the field of legal education; that is why the legal academic community is more dependent on information than most other professionals.

Information-seeking behavior research has contributed to developments in information literacy (Foster, 2005) and the determination of information needs help in the development of information centres and planning appropriate library sources and facilities. Information need is the feeling of insufficiency of knowledge to solve a problem. Under such circumstances when a user consults an information system or library for his/her information needs, this action constitutes their information seeking behaviour (Nasreen, 2006).

Law faculty members impart legal knowledge to the students' community to equip them with sound legal knowledge and skills. They teach different subjects at a time and are engaged in different legal academic activities; therefore, their information needs are diverse and vast. Law library is the most widely-used source of information available to them. Law librarians need to have awareness of the kinds of information being sought by them and how it can be obtained.

The exponential growth of legal literature, interdisciplinary nature of law subjects, their relationship & interdependence, widespread legal research activities and rapid dissimilation of legal research products are the main reasons distinguishing law faculty members from the rest of the social sciences researchers and faculty members, therefore, investigation of their information needs and seeking behavior is very much important.

The literature of information needs and seeking behavior of faculty members is wide-ranging; however, no study has been undertaken in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) (presently Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK)) or in Pakistan on the subject. The aim of this study is to investigate the information needs and seeking behavior of law faculty members which is a survey of the Law College, University of Peshawar and seventeen (17) affiliated Law Colleges Khayber Pakhtookhawa (North Western Frontier Post NWFP, Pakistan). (Total 18).

Research Methodology

Data was collected through a structured and pilot tested questionnaire. The population of the study consists of 128 law faculty members. The questionnaire was distributed among one hundred (100) randomly selected law faculty members. The response rate was (86%) with 6(7%) females and 80(93%) males. The collected data were analysed through SPSS software version 16.

Research Questions

* What are the actual educational and informational needs of the law faculty members?

* What kinds of information are being required by them and what kinds of methods are used by them for seeking their needed information?

* What is the law faculty members' response towards information and telecommunication technologies i.e. internet, IT and ICT?

* Are the law libraries' of the concerned legal institutes'/colleges' services users' oriented?

* What is the perception of the law faculty members regarding the attitude of the library staff?

* What kinds of problems are faced by the law faculty members and what steps law librarians and administration of the concerned law colleges should take to solve the problems of the law faculty members?

Review of Related Studies

Many studies have been conducted to investigate the information needs and seeking behavior of individuals and groups of individuals based on their subject interest, environment, occupation and geographical location. Information needs and seeking behavior of academics have been a popular area of research (Majid and Kasim, 2000). This review focuses on the studies of information needs and seeking behavior of law faculty members but also includes similar studies which examine the same variables included in this study.

Majid and Kasim (2000) explored the information seeking behavior of the law faculty members at the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM). Finding revealed that IIUM law faculty members used a verity of information sources for academic and research purposes. Personal collection was consulted by them before resorting to other information centres and libraries. IT based sources were commonly used by them in their information search and retrieval. The study concluded that law faculty member were satisfied with the collections, services and facilities of IIUM library in meeting their required information needs effectively.

A similar kind of study was conducted by Thanuskodi (2009) at Central Law College, Salem, India. The study revealed that law faculty members preferred conventional sources of information over IT-based library resources and facilities for their academic and research purposes. They preferred personal collections while confronting an information need. On the whole, law faculty members were satisfied with the collection, sources and resources of the Central Law College, Salem's library.

Makri, Blandford and Cox (2008) investigated the information seeking behavior of academic lawyers. The aim of this study was to know about the tendency of academic lawyers towards electronic resources, legal databases and digital libraries. Findings show that academic lawyers mainly used set of electronic resources and digital law libraries and legal databases like LexisNexis and Westlaw for legal research. Nnadozie and Nnadozie (2008) carried out a study on the information needs of faculty members in a private Nigerian university. The main objective of this study was to find out the difference between the information needs of the faculty members of the private and public sector universities in Nigeria. Findings revealed no significant difference between the information needs of the faculty members of the two sector universities. Apart from other sources of information the usage of monographs and journals were common in them.

In Pakistan a number of studies on reading habits of different professional groups have been carried out by various individuals associations, and institutions which partly indicate their information needs. Khan, Bhatti and Khan, 2011...

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