Information needs and information seeking behaviour of Teachers: survey of selected Secondary Schools in Lusaka,Zambia

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Gwayi, Sarah
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The University of Zambia
Information is an important resource that plays a significant role in people’s daily professional and personal lives. One of the concerns of information professionals is the information seeking behaviour of different target groups of people because an effective information service largely depends on understanding the information seeking behaviour of different target of people. Information seeking behaviour is described as an individual’s way of gathering and obtaining information for personal use, knowledge updating and development. The purpose of this study was to investigate the information needs and information seeking behaviour of teachers in selected secondary schools in Lusaka, Zambia. The main objective of the study was to investigate teachers’ information needs and seeking behaviour while the specific objectives were to determine the information needs of secondary school teachers, to find out their information-seeking behaviour, to establish their most preferred sources of information and to find out the challenges they faced when seeking information. The study was a survey of 8 purposively selected secondary schools comprising a sample size was 175 teachers. The study employed quantitative and qualitative method of data collection. Questionnaires were used to collect data from respondents of which only 154 questionnaires were returned representing a response rate of 88%. Quantitative data was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 20 while qualitative data was analysed using content analysis. The findings of the study revealed that teachers sought information in order to conduct various tasks such as preparing lesson plans, preparing tests and examinations and preparing marking keys. With regard to sources of information the major sources teachers consulted were textbooks and reference books, syllabus documents and test/ examination papers from previous years. The most preferred format of information was print format followed by electronic format and oral format was the least preferred. Teachers became aware of the sources through interaction with colleagues, through education and through research. The study also revealed that teachers used the following communication channels: face to face, the media, the library, social media as well as e-mail. The study furthermore revealed that teachers encountered various challenges when seeking information and the main challenges included inadequate Information Communication Technologies, over enrolment in schools, outdated information resources, lack of library/resource centre and lack of qualified library personnel. The study therefore concluded that teachers have various information needs which are prompted by their work roles and tasks. In the process of meeting their information needs, they consult several sources however; they are most satisfied with textbooks and reference books. Teachers also face various challenges when seeking information which hinder their information seeking process and consequently negatively affect the quality of teaching. It is therefore recommended that the Government should allocate more funds to schools, provide adequate library facilities in schools and also employ qualified library personnel in schools.
Information Behaviour , Information Retrieval