Information seeking behaviour of students with visual impairments : a case study of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.
The aim of the study was to establish the visually impaired students' information seeking behaviours, which comprises information needs, seeking and use. Identifying the students' information seeking behaviour helped to determine whether the services that are provided by the University of KwaZulu-Natal on the Pietermaritzburg (UKZN-PMB) campus met their information needs or not. The population of the study comprised three units of analysis which were nine students with visual impairments, seven Subject Librarians of the UKZN-PMB Cecil Renaud main library and the Disability Unit Coordinator. The students were surveyed by means of a semi-structured interview where they were asked what their information needs were, how they met those needs and whether the information they found from the institution's information system met their needs or not. The student' information seeking behaviour was plotted using Wilson's (1999) Information Behaviour model and the model was assessed for use with this group. The Subject Librarians and the DUC were surveyed by means of self-administered questionnaires where they were asked to specify their length of services, the frequency with which they assisted students with visual impairments and the students with visual impairments' preferences in information sources and formats, which the researcher consequently collected. The response rate was 100% from all the units of analysis. The results of the study indicated that most of the students preferred electronic compared to print information formats, depending on their level of sightedness for those who were partially sighted. Results from the three units of analysis were integrated into an overall consideration of the dynamics of information seeking behaviour exhibited by the students and modifications were suggested on Wilson's (1999) Information Behaviour model which suited the group under study.