SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Method
  5. Findings
  6. Contribution and Innovation
  7. References

This poster presents the preliminary results of the study on information needs and information seeking behavior of Mongolian scholars, which was conducted in the summer of 2006


Introduction

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Method
  5. Findings
  6. Contribution and Innovation
  7. References

Information-seeking behavior of academic scholars has been the focus of inquiry within the library and information science community for decades. The vast majority of user studies carried out in developed countries are well documented and widely known. There were only a few studies on information needs and information seeking behavior of scholars in developing countries. Tiratel (2000) investigated the information-seeking behavior of Argentine humanities and social science scholars and found no substantial differences between them and scholars in Anglo-Saxon countries. Ileperuma (2002) investigated information gathering behavior of art scholars in Sri Lanka's universities. Meho & Tibbo (2003) revised Ellis's information-seeking model of social scientists adding four additional features: accessing, networking, verifying, and information managing. As a result of their study, which focused on information-seeking behavior of social scientists in 14 different stateless nations, Meho & Tibbo developed a new model, which groups all the features into four interrelated stages: searching, accessing, processing and ending. Francis (2005) studied information-seeking behavior of social scientists in Trinidad and Tobago. She found similarity between the information seeking behavior of social scientists in this small developing country and those found in other countries. In Mongolia, no line of ongoing research focuses on information seeking behavior and information needs of scholars.

Our poster presents the design and the first set of findings of a mixed method study intended to identify information needs and information seeking behavior of Mongolian scholars and explore options for meeting these needs. Specific goals of the inquiry are to determine how they find necessary information about the latest advances in their respective disciplines and that supports their research tasks; their preferred format for the literature to appear; the language they prefer the literature to be in; what services and resources they expect from libraries; what barriers they encounter to get necessary information for their research activities.

Method

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Method
  5. Findings
  6. Contribution and Innovation
  7. References

Considering the unique nature of political, economical and cultural setting of Mongolian scholars, naturalistic inquiry approach with grounded theory was used in this study. Naturalistic inquiry is always carried out “in a natural setting” since context is so heavily implicated in meaning (Lincoln & Guba, p.199). Research designs must be “emergent rather than preordinate” within the naturalistic paradigm. According to them, design must be “played by ear” and must be unfold, cascade, roll and emerge (Lincoln & Guba, p. 209). Naturalistic inquiry include the following steps, that should not be construed in any lineage fashion: determining a focus for the inquiry; determining fit of paradigm to focus; determining the “fit” of the inquiry paradigm to the substantive theory selected to guide the inquiry; determining where and from whom data will be collected; determining successive phases of the inquiry; determining instrumentation; planning data collection and recording modes; planning data analysis procedures; planning the logistics; and planning for trustworthiness. In contrast to the conventional inquirer, who usually approaches a study “knowing what is known,” the naturalist adopts the posture of “not knowing what is known.” (Lincoln & Guba, p.235). Therefore, the study went through three phases: orientation and overview; focused exploration and member check.

Most common used methods with naturalistic inquiry are interviews, observations, and document analysis. Naturalistic techniques may be combined with quantitative methods in various ways. Combinations are dictated by the research question, the skills of the researcher and the reason for conducting the research (Mellon, 1990, p.19).

In-depth interview and survey were used as the main research methods for this study. 17 researchers from various research institutions from the Mongolian Academy of Sciences were interviewed and 134 researchers responded to the survey. To increase reliability of the study, about 15 librarians were interviewed about the usage of library and resources by Mongolian scholars. Case (1999) emphasized that researchers studying information seeking of scientists cannot necessarily rely on their self-reports. Barry (1995) questioned the reliability of accounts she collected from theoretical physicists regarding their use of electronic sources of information.

Findings

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Method
  5. Findings
  6. Contribution and Innovation
  7. References

To conduct research in their own field, Mongolian scholars prefer to use journals, followed by textbooks and monographs. This preference of sources is very similar to the information needs of scholars in other developing and developed countries. As Francis (2005) stated “journal literature remains an essential resource” for scientists “regardless of the information environment in which they operate, whether in developed or developing country.” (p.71). There was no significant difference in usage of journals, textbooks and monographs between social scientists and natural scientists. However, the analysis indicated that there was a significant relationship between the type of the discipline and correspondence, x2(1) = 4.529, p < .05. Of those that use correspondence, the majority were from natural science (50%) whereas the majority of those researchers who did not choose correspondence were social scientists (70%). To obtain journal articles, most respondents relied on their colleagues or on the library's copy. In terms of books, 68% of respondents said that they buy books personally, 59%-borrow from colleagues, 65%-borrow from library. The Pearson Chi-square analysis indicated that there was a significant relationship between the type of the discipline and personal purchase of books, x2(1) = 3.78, p < .05. The majority of those who purchase books are social scientists (77%) whereas the majority of researchers who do not buy books are from the natural sciences (72%). The survey analysis shows that most respondents never used these online databases. 61% of respondents said they would prefer the paper copy of journals. It indicates that scholars need to be trained more about using electronic databases and other resources. The use, and non-use, of online databases by Mongolian scholars needs to be investigated more thoroughly.

Contribution and Innovation

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Method
  5. Findings
  6. Contribution and Innovation
  7. References

The results of this study would be beneficial to build better library and information services for scholars not only in Mongolia, but also in other developing countries. As White (1975) states, if academic librarians are to attempt realistically to serve academic researchers, they must recognize the changing needs and the variations in information gathering which they generate and then provide the type of services that would be most useful to the researcher. It is evident from this study that local information and library services for scholars needs to be strengthened to suit the information needs of scholars.

References

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Method
  5. Findings
  6. Contribution and Innovation
  7. References
  • Case, D. O. 2002. Looking for Information: A survey of Research on Information Seeking, Needs and Behavior. Academic Press.
  • Francis, H. (2005). The Information-Seeking Behavior of Social Science Faculty at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus. The Journal of Academic Librarianship. 31 (1). 6772
  • Illeperuma. S. (2002). Information gathering behaviour of arts scholars in Sri Lankan universities: a critical evaluation. Collection building, Vol. 21. 2231
  • Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. J. (1985). Naturalistic Inquiry. Sage Publications.
  • Meho, L. I., & Tibbo, H. R.Modeling the Information-Seeking Behavior of Social Science Faculty: Ellis's Study Revisited.” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 54, no. 6 (April 2003): 570587
  • Tiratel, S. R. (2000). Accessing Information Use by Humanities and Social Scientists: As study at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 26 (5). 346354
  • White, M. D. (1975). The communication behaviour of academic economists in research phases. Library Quarterly, Vol. 45. pp. 337354