Information Needs and Seeking Behavior of Law Faculty Members: A Survey of the University of Peshawar and Its Affiliated Law Colleges

Article excerpt

Introduction

Legal education is a multi-disciplined and multi-purpose education. It aims at developing skilled human resources to strengthen the legal system and has a major role in national reconstruction, development and social change (Sathe, 1989). Information has become a critical factor in the field of legal education; that is why the legal academic community is more dependent on information than most other professionals.

Information-seeking behavior research has contributed to developments in information literacy (Foster, 2005) and the determination of information needs help in the development of information centres and planning appropriate library sources and facilities. Information need is the feeling of insufficiency of knowledge to solve a problem. Under such circumstances when a user consults an information system or library for his/her information needs, this action constitutes their information seeking behaviour (Nasreen, 2006).

Law faculty members impart legal knowledge to the students' community to equip them with sound legal knowledge and skills. They teach different subjects at a time and are engaged in different legal academic activities; therefore, their information needs are diverse and vast. Law library is the most widely-used source of information available to them. Law librarians need to have awareness of the kinds of information being sought by them and how it can be obtained.

The exponential growth of legal literature, interdisciplinary nature of law subjects, their relationship & interdependence, widespread legal research activities and rapid dissimilation of legal research products are the main reasons distinguishing law faculty members from the rest of the social sciences researchers and faculty members, therefore, investigation of their information needs and seeking behavior is very much important.

The literature of information needs and seeking behavior of faculty members is wide-ranging; however, no study has been undertaken in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) (presently Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK)) or in Pakistan on the subject. The aim of this study is to investigate the information needs and seeking behavior of law faculty members which is a survey of the Law College, University of Peshawar and seventeen (17) affiliated Law Colleges Khayber Pakhtookhawa (North Western Frontier Post NWFP, Pakistan). (Total 18).

Research Methodology

Data was collected through a structured and pilot tested questionnaire. The population of the study consists of 128 law faculty members. The questionnaire was distributed among one hundred (100) randomly selected law faculty members. The response rate was (86%) with 6(7%) females and 80(93%) males. The collected data were analysed through SPSS software version 16.

Research Questions

* What are the actual educational and informational needs of the law faculty members?

* What kinds of information are being required by them and what kinds of methods are used by them for seeking their needed information?

* What is the law faculty members' response towards information and telecommunication technologies i.e. internet, IT and ICT?

* Are the law libraries' of the concerned legal institutes'/colleges' services users' oriented?

* What is the perception of the law faculty members regarding the attitude of the library staff?

* What kinds of problems are faced by the law faculty members and what steps law librarians and administration of the concerned law colleges should take to solve the problems of the law faculty members?

Review of Related Studies

Many studies have been conducted to investigate the information needs and seeking behavior of individuals and groups of individuals based on their subject interest, environment, occupation and geographical location. Information needs and seeking behavior of academics have been a popular area of research (Majid and Kasim, 2000). …