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The Impact of Sociocultural Factors on Students’ ICT Information-Seeking Practices: Postgraduate Students’ Perceptions at a Zimbabwean University

Bongani Ngwenya, Theuns Pelser


The aim of this study was to examine the impact of cultural differences on students’ information-seeking, management and evaluation practices in an online information and communication technology (ICT) environment. The study was conducted at a Zimbabwean university on postgraduate students (male and female) (N=156), employing the questionnaire technique as data collection instrument. While there is a dearth of empirical studies on the use of ICT in Zimbabwe, the extant literature in this field shows a significant difference between the success and failure in the use of ICT sources for learning purposes among students in developing and developed countries. This study is premised on the proposition that “information seeking” is socioculturally bounded and the successful use of online information sources is significantly linked to the students’ perceptions of particular ICT platforms and how they are configured to facilitate specific information search outcomes. After the data collection process, the computer analysis software programme, Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), was employed to obtain the cross-tabulations and chi-squared statistical tests. The main findings of the study show a statistically significant difference in students’ information-seeking practices. The study identified the importance of students’ cultural contexts in the successful use of ICT and concludes that cultural differences influence online information-seeking practices among students. The study recommends that the impact of cultural differences be considered when students are introduced to the use of ICT as an information-seeking tool and suggests that future studies, both qualitative and quantitative, be pursued to improve students’ information-seeking practices to enhance their success.

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