An Ecological Model to Understand the Variety in Undergraduate Students’ Personal Information Systems

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dc.contributor.author Backhouse, Judy
dc.contributor.author Hughes, Mitchell
dc.date.accessioned 2016-05-03T14:58:02Z
dc.date.available 2016-05-03T14:58:02Z
dc.date.issued 2015-12-15
dc.identifier.citation Backhouse, J., & Hughes, M. (2015). An ecological model to understand the variety in undergraduate students’ personal information systems. The African Journal of Information and Communication (AJIC), 15, 14-24. https://doi.org/10.23962/10539/20327
dc.identifier.issn ISSN 2077-7213 (online version)
dc.identifier.issn ISSN 2077-7205 (print version)
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/20327
dc.identifier.uri https://doi.org/10.23962/10539/20327
dc.description.abstract A first-year undergraduate course in Information Systems in a South African university includes an opportunity for students to reflect on their own use of information and personal information systems. Their reflections provide data about the technologies and tools that they use to find and manage everyday life information, as well as academic information, and about the sources of information they draw on. This paper analyses data collected over three years and reports on the dominant technologies and information sources that students use. We then adapt the ecological model of information seeking and use developed by Williamson (1998) to make sense of the diversity of information sources and students’ choices in engaging with them. The results show that students rely to a very small degree on traditional university information sources. The study offers insights into the information contexts and behaviour of students and argues for the importance of a flexible range of information sources to support students in the complex process of managing information for academic success. The results will be of interest to those involved in designing and delivering undergraduate programmes, as well as those providing information services and infrastructures.
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg en_ZA
dc.subject personal information system, information behaviour, undergraduate students, information technology, information seeking, information sources, personal informatics
dc.title An Ecological Model to Understand the Variety in Undergraduate Students’ Personal Information Systems en_ZA
dc.type Article en_ZA
ddi.analysisunit South African universities
ddi.cleanops The three data sets (2013, 2014 and 2015) were then imported into Atlas.ti for coding. A millennial coder was employed to identify and code each item on each picture. The coder’s brief was to identify the specific technology or application that was referenced in the pictures. It was important to use a coder who was familiar with the technologies and applications in use by the students and who was sufficiently “at home” online to be able to track down references (textual and graphical) to obscure applications and technologies. Once this initial coding was complete, the researchers created code families to group related concepts together
ddi.collmode Educational measurements
ddi.collmode Pictures were submitted electronically in a variety of formats. Some were drawn using software tools such as Word, PowerPoint or Visio and submitted in software-specific or pdf formats. Some students constructed collages or drew pictures freehand and scanned or photographed the results, submitting them in pdf or jpg formats. Students uploaded their pictures to the learning management system (LMS).
ddi.datacollector Backhouse, Judy; Hughes, Mitchell
ddi.datakind qualitative
ddi.geogcover South Africa
ddi.keyword personal information system, information behaviour, undergraduate students, information technology, information seeking, information sources, personal informatics
ddi.method Students are also asked to draw a “rich picture” of their own personal information system. Rich pictures are a tool used in Information Systems to depict the complexities of system components and their relationships (Avison & Fitzgerald, 2003) and are one of the Information Systems tools that students learn about during the course. Students were asked to draw a rich picture depicting the different sources of information and the tools to access and manage information that they were either currently using or intended to use during their university studies
ddi.sampproc In total, 325 pictures were collected in 2013, 456 pictures in 2014, and 240 pictures in 2015.
ddi.timemeth longitudinal panel interval
ddi.diststmt Contact the editors to discuss reuse of the data in collaboration with the authors.
ddi.timeprd 2013-01-01 -2013-01-12
dc.citation.doi https://doi.org/10.23962/10539/20327
dc.citation.epage 11
dc.citation.issue 15
dc.orcid.id Backhouse: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6269-7910
dc.orcid.id Hughes: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5027-4294


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