Use of electronic databases by masters students in the Faculty of Humanities, Development and Social Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of electronic databases by masters students in the Faculty of Humanities, Development and Social Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus. The study tried to establish which electronic databases masters students used and how frequently they were used. In addition, the study investigated what the students used the electronic databases for and what problems they encountered while using these databases. A set of recommendations based on the findings were identified. The study population consisted of Humanities, Development and Social Sciences (HDSS) masters students. A total of 139 masters students responded, which was a response rate of 68%. The approach undertaken by the researcher was triangulation where both qualitative and quantitative data was collected. The instrument that the researcher employed as the quantitative method of data collection was the questionnaire and a focus group was used as the qualitative method of data collection. The quantitative data was analysed using SPSS and the qualitative data was analysed using thematic content analysis. A pre-test of the questionnaire for the study was done on six registered masters students in the Faculty of Science and Agriculture at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus (UKZNP) in order to identify any unclear issues in the questionnaire. The outcome of the study revealed that a majority of HDSS masters students at UKZNP did use the electronic databases. A number of problems were experienced when using the databases. The top three databases used by the masters students were EbscoHost , followed by SABINET and then ProQuest. Masters students mentioned some benefits of using the electronic databases. Students revealed that they became aware of the library databases from a variety of sources such as lecturers, friends and orientation programmes. There were other non-library databases that masters students used besides the library electronic databases. A majority of 75.2% of the students were satisfied with the library service.