Coping with private and academic information needs abroad: An exploratory study of international students

Jette Hyldegård, Morten Hertzum

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskning


Students are caught between work and play. They are not working in the classical sense of exchanging effort for payment, but nevertheless expected to approach their studies with a discipline similar to that of people at work. And they are not playing in the hedonic sense of pursuing an activity merely for its own sake but nevertheless expected to be interested and self-motivated while learning skills they often
cannot see a practical use for. We focus on international students – the students who travel abroad for part of their higher education. Compared to domestic students, the international students face the additional work of getting to know a new country and educational culture. Their information needs and information-seeking behavior will reflect that they are newcomers but, at the same time, they are often resourceful, for example in relation to their use of information and communication technologies.
We present the first results and reflections from an exploratory case study carried out in 2015 with a
convenience sample of five international master students. The study is a pilot study conducted in
preparation for a full-size interview-based study. We argue that international students constitute an
interesting group with special needs that can benefit from ICT support at different levels to cope with the cultural, educational, and social adjustments involved in being abroad. Previous studies of international students’ information-seeking behavior have mainly focused on host institutions in countries with English as the native language. Our study attends to the experiences and information needs of international students who are enrolled at a Nordic university. We focus on how social and cultural adjustment may trigger information needs and how (by which means and actions) the international students satisfy these private and academic information needs to cope with life abroad.
Besides contributing with new insights for the benefit of future research and theory building, we hope that host institutions and developers of ICT can benefit from the insights into the characteristics of international students’ information needs and (social) information behavior.
Antal sider4
StatusUdgivet - 2016
Udgivet eksterntJa
BegivenhedSIG-SI Workshop on the Social Informatics of Work and Play: ASIS&T2016: Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science and Technology - København, Danmark
Varighed: 14 okt. 201618 okt. 2016


WorkshopSIG-SI Workshop on the Social Informatics of Work and Play

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