Original Research

Active and passive information behaviour of the professoriate: A descriptive comparative pattern analysis

Simeon A. Nwone, Stephen M. Mutula
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 22, No 1 | a1161 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v22i1.1161 | © 2020 Simeon A. Nwone, Stephen M. Mutula | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 October 2019 | Published: 30 June 2020

About the author(s)

Simeon A. Nwone, Information Studies Programme, School of Social Sciences, College of Humanities, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Stephen M. Mutula, School of Management, IT and Governance, College of Law and Management Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The study explored and analysed patterns in active and passive information behaviour of the professoriate in different information sources in teaching and research context. Exploring patterns in human information behaviour fills the knowledge gaps in this under-researched area, besides having practical significance.

Objectives: The study explored the patterns in active and passive information behaviour in different information sources used by the professoriate in the social sciences and humanities in three federal universities in Nigeria.

Methods: The study used a descriptive survey to explore the active and passive information behaviour of the professoriate. The sample consisted of 246 professors from the social sciences and humanities departments at three federal universities in Nigeria. Data were collected using an adapted questionnaire and analysed descriptively using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences.

Results: The patterns that emerged across electronic resources, media, print sources, interpersonal and academic gathering, in three usage categories, showed both consistent and divergent results. A broad pattern in frequently-used sources revealed that the more active information seeking takes place in an information source, the more chances of passive encounters, and vice versa. This pattern is, however, consistent in electronic resources, print sources, and academic gathering, but differs in media and interpersonal sources. Media has more instances of passive encounters than active usage whilst in interpersonal sources, information encountered in active engagements with professional colleagues did not yield significant result.

Conclusion: Exploring patterns in human information behaviour is still evolving, with the benefit of advancing a better understanding of active and passive information behaviour at a micro level.


Keywords

information behaviour; professoriate; information sources; seeking; encountering.

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