How academics keep up to date

  • Nouf Mohammed H Alshareef

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Technological advances are changing the academic environment; for example, increasingly available and varied electronic information, amounting to an information explosion, affects academics’ information-seeking behaviour (ISB) as they face information overload. Academic staff and PhD students face particular challenges in identifying and locating the most relevant information among a vast and rapidly increasing body of literature as they strive to keep up to date (KUTD) with significant developments. This research seeks to understand how they do so, in order to provide better KUTD strategies and user-matched KUTD services. This mixed-method case study of Strathclyde University therefore investigates KUTD as both services and behaviour, first by analysing the university library website and interviewing a librarian (service provider) to examine the provision, support and promotion of KUTD services, then by using a questionnaire and interviews to collect information from staff and PhD students (benefit owners), exploring user behaviour, approaches and commonly used KUTD methods and tools. The research contributes novelty in being the first to investigate KUTD as both services and behaviour among staff and PhD students. Its originality extends to investigating both high-level groups of KUTD methods and individual (low-level) methods within them. It identifies the most used methods, the demographic factors (age, gender and experience) affecting usage and diverse motivations for their use. It examines the university’s KUTD service provision and recommends ways to improve searching skills and strategies via training courses and personalizing services or customizing tools, thus making a useful contribution regarding scientific information and research, specifically on academic library policies.
Date of Award10 May 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorIan Ruthven (Supervisor) & Diane Pennington (Supervisor)

Cite this