Information-Seeking Behavior of Law Practitioners: A Survey of Bahawalpur City

Article excerpt

Introduction

The concept of life is vague without information. Information has enabled a man to perform his routine activities in an efficient way. For decision-making, we need the support of information (Kumar, 2004). Modern society depends on information for all its activities. Every person has the need for information. Without valid and up-to-date information, it is impossible to do progress in any field of life (Bajpai, 1999). Understanding of information needs and information-seeking behavior of various professional groups is essential as it helps in the planning, implementation and operation of information system and services in the given work settings (Devadason & Lingam, 1997). Legal information is basic to all, both lawyers and non-lawyers. The law is supposed to be understood and used by each and every citizen (Otike, 1997). Lawyers are individuals who have a wide range of responsibilities and duties when it comes to their profession. Their role in society is even more important as they are acting as a voice for others (Exforsys, 2010). In today's world, legal issues spring up almost always on a regular basis. Most probably, one does not have the time to handle all of them. Having a lawyer to take care of one's legal affair is very much required and it is one sure way to get free from unnecessary headaches (Hood, 2006). Lawyers are the protectors of the people. They play a very important role in maintaining order in one place. In addition, a number of positions in the government are being held by lawyers. Thus, they contribute in providing and regulating peace in the community (Buzzle, 2010).

Research Methodology and Data Collection Approach

Survey of the lawyer's community at District Bar Council, Bahawalpur was conducted by the researcher and data were collected with the help of a structured, peer-reviewed and pilot-tested questionnaire. Seventy questionnaires were distributed among the lawyers for data collection and 54 questionnaires were filled out by the lawyers. The response rate was 77%. Due to the busy schedule of the lawyers, the researcher faced difficulty in data collection. The collected data were analyzed through SPSS software version 14.

The main objectives of the study were to investigate:

1. For what purpose, lawyers search for information?

2. What are the information seeking habits of lawyers?

3. From where do they generally get information resources?

4. What do they do in case of urgent need of information?

5. What is the impact of ICT on information seeking behavior of the lawyers?

Important Research Questions

* What are the actual information needs of the lawyers community?

* What kind of information is sought by them?

* What methods are used for seeking information?

* What is the users' response towards new information and communication technologies?

* What is the current state of provision of various kinds of library services? And is that well responsive to the changing needs of its lawyers community?

* What are the problems of seeking information and how it can be solved?

* What are types of reading material available in the library and does it satisfy its community's needs effectively?

* What is users' information sources preference and do the library staff familiar with it?

* What are the study places preferences by them?

* What kinds of difficulties faced by lawyers in the process of seeking information (print and non-print)?

Review of the Studies on Information Seeking Behavior of Lawyers

There are several studies conducted at international level to examine the information needs and information seeking behavior of lawyers. This section will briefly review the studies on information seeking behavior of lawyers for gaining a better understanding of lawyers' information seeking behavior. …