Internet information seeking behaviour of 3rd year LIS undergraduate students: a comparative study of East African School of Library and Information Science, Makerere University and Uganda Christian University - LIS programme
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The study aimed at examining the internet information-seeking patterns of LIS undergraduate students of EASLIS, Makerere University and UCU- Library and Information Science Unit. The main objective of the study was to examine the internet information seeking behavior of 3rd year undergraduate Library and Information Science students of EASLIS and UCU. The specific objectives of the study were to identify the information needs of 3rd year LIS undergraduate students of both UCU and EASLIS; identify how 3rd year LIS Undergraduate students seek information from the internet and document the challenges faced by 3rd year LIS students when seeking for information from the internet and to suggest strategies for strengthening the information seeking patterns of LIS students. The study employed a cross-sectional survey research design, using randomly selected respondents from both EASLIS and UCU. The researcher adopted both qualitative and quantitative research approaches. Data was collected using three methods, structured questionnaire, Semi-structured Interview and document review. Triangulation of methods, rigorousness research process, and piloting of instruments were used as data quality control strategies. The sample size consisted of 213 third year LIS undergraduate students from both institutions, yielding a response rate of 85%. The major findings show that respondents have different information needs and their information seeking behaviour differs. The means to access the internet also differed, depending on the pertaining situations. Some students used their mobile phones, modems or personal laptops as their favourite to access the needed information, while others preferred to use the universities’ facilities. Although facilities are available in either institution, they are not sufficient to cater for the growing student population. Both institutions seemed to have the basic infrastructure to facilitate internet use, although EASLIS had slightly better facilities than UCU. The common and major challenges from both Universities are slow internet speed, power blackout, lack of enough facilities in the access points, no internet connectivity most of the time, computer laboratories were ever busy with IT students in the case of UCU; computer laboratories were reported to be opened late; some computers had secret codes for specific people such as staff, and most internet ports in the computer laboratories were not functioning. The study concluded that the internet information-seeking behaviour of the respondents from both institutions was diverse and greatly dependent on one’s information searching skills. Respondents used the internet for fulfilling various information needs; majority of the respondents from both Universities used internet for additional information for course materials, chatting with friends and family and for communication purposes. Majority of the respondents had access to the internet irrespective of the means and ways used to obtain it; University resources were the main means of accessing the internet. The study recommended that Internet facilities located in both universities be made more functional to encourage Internet use by students within the campus. Lecturers from both universities should encourage students to submit their assignments using electronic means; both universities should increase their bandwidth, Internet Access points should be installed in the buildings within the two institutions and halls of residence and hostels within the Universities. Adequate space and ICT facilities should be provided; special training should be offered to students on how to use the Internet and its services; alternative power supply at both institutions should be provided to have a steady supply of Electricity for effective Internet services.