The effect of personal characteristics on the use of information sources by social science researchers at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Author:Ugwu, C.I.


Current research on information retrieval suggests the study of the needs and habits of users. Research into information seeking and use is growing in significance in a wide range of disciplines. The research has also suggested that the user exists within interacting cognitive, emotional, and social systems. This view has generated research on various categories of users of information systems (Laloo, 2002). The need to understand information-seeking and use has helped bridge the gap between the human information behaviour community and the information systems community. The problems of transmission, storage, and display of information have been combined with the problem of getting information to users quickly. Online searching and electronic bibliographic databases are now available in almost every field. As information expands, the ability of the user to process it remains fixed. Menzel (1966) observes that planning information system and policies requires understanding the way communities such as scientists and engineers use information. Information is important in decision-making and in achieving goals, which can be seen as a valuable commodity or product (Igbeka, 2002). According to Marchionini (1995), information seeking is a fundamental human process that is closely related to learning and problem-solving.

Factors which influence information needs, seeking, and use have been very central in studies involving the users of information. The reason for this is that it has been found that differences in the use of information sources and types exist among professionals (Robinson 1995). These differences can be seen from the factors that influence information seeking. According to Burkett (1972), information seeking can be influenced by the user's place of employment, occupation, education, and so on.

The present study focuses on social science researchers at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The emphasis is on understanding the motivating influences that drive information-seeking behaviour rather than on the use of particular systems. This paper describes the personal characteristics of social science researchers and relates them to the frequency with which they use information sources. The personal characteristics studied include education, position, and experience, which are measured by qualification, rank, and years of work experience or length of service respectively.


Three hypotheses were formulated to guide...

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