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Use of Mobile Technologies by Law Students in the Law Library: an Exploratory Study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 October 2017


This paper outlines the first part of a wider, two-part study on the information behaviour of law students. The authors are Zaki Abbas, Andrew MacFarlane and Lyn Robinson. The background and motivation for the study have been described in a previous publication1 which reports the results of interviews with three academic law librarians. Our initial work found that although mobile technologies offered benefits to law students seeking information for their academic studies, there was concern from law librarians that the use of electronic resources via both non-mobile and mobile interfaces resulted in a loss of skills required for information retrieval due to the increasing capabilities of electronic resources’ search interfaces. To gain more insight into how law students were using mobile information resources, and to further understand the advantages and disadvantages of such resources, we extended our study to a wider cohort. This second phase, of our first part study, was conducted over two years (2013–2015). During this time, we carried out interviews with thirteen law librarians and fielded both quantitative and qualitative questionnaires to 36 law students. We also conducted a greater review of literature and examined several existing information-seeking models. We used the results of the research from this phase of study, together with the knowledge from the literature to propose a novel information-seeking behaviour (ISB) model for law students. These findings are reported within this paper. The second part of this research will look at expanding our research cohort to cover a wider audience throughout the UK and use a focus group to validate our proposed model. This will be reported in a following paper.

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Copyright © The Author(s) 2017. Published by British and Irish Association of Law Librarians 

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