The purpose of this paper is to examine the personal information management (PIM) behaviours of social science faculty in Africa. The study examined the experiences and encounters of selected social scientists in Africa in organising and finding and re-finding of the information they previously created or stored. More specifically, the study sought to examine how faculty keep and refind information, the files and folders in which they store the information. Also, the study examined the nature and characteristics of faculty information spaces with particular respect to electronic documents including emails and paper documents.
Sample survey research design and a mixed methods approach consisting of qualitative and quantitative were used. Data was collected using a discursive technique, an interview schedule and a questionnaire. Data analysis was conducted using factorial analysis of mixed data design, guided by a combination of category and codes identification using NVivo and Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) 17. Principal component analysis (PCA) of factor analysis was executed to identify key components.
Eleven issues, namely, time, infrastructure, importance of the information, folder/file management, document characteristics and organisational context played significant roles in the PIM behaviours of the respondents. Others were importance of the information, document overload, memory, workload and computer literacy. PCA extracted four major components, namely, document overload, time, computer literacy and importance of the information.
An expansion in the number of faculty involved in this study would probably yield a more reliable outcome. Extending the study to cover Africa would also yield a more applicable result.
The key PIM issues identified in this study, namely, document overload, time, computer literacy and importance of the information should constitute the focus of continuous information literacy education aimed at improving PIM social scientists’ faculty in Africa.
Improved PIM of social science faculty will result to improved research productivity and good health.
PIM of social scientists has not been examined in the literature, and yet it is crucial for further understanding their learning and information behaviours, and improving their productivity. The design and administration of a questionnaire constructed based on codes extracted from qualitative and discursive sessions to the same respondents from whom the qualitative data was collected makes the findings very strong. A further deployment of factorial analysis of mixed data design to handle qualitative data makes the contribution of the study very significant.
Nwagwu, W. (2021), "“Digesting the abundance of idol matter” key factors in personal information management experiences of selected social science faculty", VINE Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/VJIKMS-10-2020-0182
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