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The information practices of Business PhD students

Idunn Bøyum (Archivistics, Library and Information Sciences, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science, Oslo, Norway)
Svanhild Aabø (Archivistics, Library and Information Sciences, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science, Oslo, Norway)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 9 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper was to investigate how PhD students discover, choose and use information and literature for their research.

Design/methodology/approach

Eight PhD students at the Norwegian Business School (BI) were interviewed. The interviews were based on a phenomenological approach.

Findings

The use of both library databases and Google Scholar is frequent and contextual. The informants ranked the library databases as more useful than Google Scholar. Methods for keeping up to date varied and were contextual. Although formal information seeking in library databases was seen as more academic than the tracking of references, this latter method was more widespread. Students felt they mastered the tools associated with formal information seeking, which constituted a continuous activity in their research practices. Wilson’s (1983) theory on cognitive authority may give a better understanding of the findings.

Practical implications

Acquiring knowledge about the information practices of PhD students in a specific discipline will help libraries to improve their services and acquire relevant resources for their users.

Originality/value

This paper examines PhD students’ ranking of information resources, identifies preferred methods for keeping up to date and reveals in which contexts the informants use either formal or social information-seeking practices.

Keywords

Citation

Bøyum, I. and Aabø, S. (2015), "The information practices of Business PhD students", New Library World, Vol. 116 No. 3/4, pp. 187-200. https://doi.org/10.1108/NLW-06-2014-0073

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited