Information behaviour of the professoriate in selected federal universities in South West Nigeria.
Nwone, Simeon Ambrose.
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This study investigated the information behaviour of the professoriate in selected federal universities in South West Nigeria. The study was guided by Wilson (1996) Information Behaviour Model and Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) by Venkatesh, Morris, Davis, and Davis (2003). The study adopted the pragmatist paradigm and employed the mixed methods approach with quantitative method as dominant over qualitative method. A survey research design was employed using a structured mixed questionnaire to collect quantitative data from the professoriate and semi-structured interviews were used to collect qualitative data from the subject librarians. The population of the study comprised the professoriate and subject librarians in the faculties of social sciences and humanities drawn from the three universities purposively selected from south west Nigeria. A census survey was used to collect quantitative data from 246 professoriate, while qualitative data was collected from 28 subject librarians purposively selected in the three universities. Quantitative data was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics with the aid of SPSS, while qualitative data was analysed using thematic analysis. Results of quantitative data analysis were presented using tables and charts, while the results of the qualitative data analysis were presented in narrative description. Reliability and validity of survey instruments were ascertained through pre-test of data collection instruments and Cronbach Alpha test respectively. Overall, 165 questionnaires were collected from the professoriate, giving a response rate of 67%, while 11 subject librarians were interviewed, returning a success rate of 42%. Ethical guidelines of the university of KwaZulu-Natal ethics policy were duly followed. The findings showed that the professoriate needed information for developing contents for teaching, conducting research, and keeping abreast of developments in their fields. They rely heavily on journal articles and text books, and make frequent use of online databases and electronic journals for teaching and research. Interaction with colleagues and conference proceedings were their major informal sources of information. The professoriate encounters information more frequently in journal articles and text books, than in electronic journals and online databases. They use the encountered information to advance their general knowledge, for personal development and to advance their career. They share mainly academic, research information, and publish research outcomes in subscription-based and fee-based journals. The study shows that the mean scores for performance expectancy (2.90), effort expectancy (2.76), attitude (2.69), self-efficacy (2.61), and social influence (2.60) contribute to the high mean score of behavioural intention (2.87) to use electronic information resources. The mean scores of facilitating condition (2.32) and anxiety (1.57) is low. The originality of this study is based on the following premise: the study focused specifically on the information behaviour of the professoriate as a unique group scarcely covered in literature. It uniquely examines both active and passive information behaviour of the professoriate in using electronic information resources using two top models in behavioural research. The unique findings show how high self-efficacy and positive attitude influenced the professoriate intention to use electronic information resources. The study makes significant contribution in the areas of policy, theory, and practice. From the policy perspective, institutional policy which takes into cognisance the observed peculiarities of the respondents, could guide the development of a service framework that uniquely meets information requirements of the professoriate. The study provides indicators that focus on improving information provisions and services specifically for the professoriate. Theoretically the study suggests the improvement of the theoretical models to include the constructs observed in the study. In practice, the study contributes to understanding of factors that influence use of electronic information resources and serves as a framework for the academic library to improve information services to benefit the professoriate. The study makes the following recommendations based on the findings: university libraries surveyed should acquire current collections to meet the academic and research needs of professoriate; create continuous awareness of library digital resources and develop training programs to enhance the electronic information retrieval skills of the professoriate; create efficient and effective support services infrastructure to attend to the individual and technical challenges faced by the professoriate. Based on the gap identified, the study recommends the need for further studies to: examine the information behaviour of professoriate elsewhere to compare with the findings of this study; investigate in detail other aspects of human information behaviour such as serendipity, information sharing, information access, and information management of the professoriate.