Information seeking behaviour of the informal sector enterpreneurs: the Ugandan experience
Ikoja-Odongo, J. Robert
Ocholla, Dennis N.
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This article reports the results of a study aimed at identifying the information needs and uses of the informal sector in Uganda. The demographic and business characteristics of these entrepreneurs are highlighted and empirically tested with regard to their information needs. This study has largely employed qualitative research methodologies, such as the critical incidence technique for interviews with 602 informal sector entrepreneurs from a variety of trades. Observations of the entrepreneurs’ work environments and historical methods were also employed. The results suggest that modern/exotic models of information transfer based on textual media and ICT exhibit less impact on the entrepreneurs’ information needs and use at macro levels because of poverty, illiteracy and poor information infrastructure. It is however noted that most ‘elite’ models share a platform with information behaviour of entrepreneurs at the micro levels. The study concludes that an appropriate model for information behaviour for the information poor community must be grounded on oral traditions and indigenous knowledge and be sensitive to poverty, infrastructure and illiteracy. Recognition is also made of the need for information repackaging and the use of appropriate media for information provision.
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