ICTs, including mobile devices, are changing rapidly, and so is the application of these technologies in various disciplines. From the literature it was determined that mobile devices have an influence on information behaviour, whether it be in the form of information seeking, searching, use, sharing, collaboration, or any other information behaviour activity. This study focused on the influence of mobile devices on the information behaviour of undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Department of Information Science at the University of Pretoria. Understanding the influence that mobile devices have on information behaviour might improve the effective use of mobile devices in education, and might be of use to library services.
A mixed methods approach was followed, consisting of questionnaires for the collection of quantitative data and focus group interviews for the collection of qualitative data. Convenience sampling was used to select undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Department of Information Science. This was followed by a census approach in which all students were invited to participate in completing the electronic self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire collected data on mobile devices and information behaviour, mobile devices and academic studies, mobile devices and clickUP, mobile devices and the Blackboard App and mobile devices and communication. The questionnaire was open from 06 October – 07 November 2013 and 201/923 (21.8%) students responded. Purposive sampling was used to invite focus group participants. The focus groups were guided by four topics: general use of mobile devices to find, access, share and use information; differences in using mobile devices to find, access, share and use information for academic purposes; different mobile devices used for different purposes; and recommendation(s) to other students for using mobile devices for academic purposes. Five focus group interviews were conducted with a total of 32 participants between 20 August and 09 September 2014.
It was found that mobile devices have an influence on the information behaviour of students, confirming what was found in the literature. Mobile devices are used more in a general and social environment than in an academic one. They however hold much value for the academic environment. Participants in the study stressed the importance, the advantages, and the potential that the mobile devices have, and still could have in the future. Participants made use of multiple mobile devices in their day-to-day activities. Furthermore, it is clear that information should be available quickly, allowing access from anywhere and at any time in order to satisfy the changing demands of the information user. It may be because of this constant need for information in its various formats, that the lines between the different contexts are being blurred.
Mini Dissertation (MIT)--University of Pretoria, 2015.