Information Behaviour of African Immigrants: Applying the Information World Theory

Keywords: information world theory, African immigrants, information behaviour, Cape Town, small worlds


This paper is based on the findings of the study that investigated the relevance of the theoretical approach and the usefulness of the theory of information worlds to study the information behaviour of people living in a small world, in this case, the South African city of Cape Town. Using the information world theory, the study shed light on the complexity of the phenomenon of immigrant information behaviour. From the findings of the study it was clear that African immigrants use formal and informal sources of information, from interpersonal sources, the Internet, the mass media, to public libraries and non-governmental organisations. The findings further confirm that, owing to language barriers and the unfamiliarity of the area, African immigrants upon arrival in South Africa tend to rely on friends, relatives and the Internet for information. Over the course of time as they become more familiar with the area, their information sources change.