Gender and cognitive factors influencing information seeking of graduate students at Kenyatta University Library
Masinde, Johnson M.
Wambiri, Daniel M.
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Background: Gender has been identified as a possible influencing factor in users’ information- seeking process. Previous studies have alluded to the fact that gender as a variable may be useful for a better understanding of the cognitive and social background of human information processing and may have important implications in the information-seeking process. Although a number of studies have investigated gender, amongst other variables, as having an effect on the information-seeking process of users, no attempt has been made to investigate the relationship between gender and cognitive factors on the information-seeking patterns of graduate students of Kenyatta University Library. Objective: The study investigates gender and cognitive factors influencing the information- seeking process of graduate students at Kenyatta University Library. Methodology: To achieve this objective, the study developed a theoretical framework which can be used by academic libraries as a basis for implementing both digital and reference desk services in order to meet the dynamic user needs. The study then investigated whether there were any gender differences through the correlation coefficient in the context of expectancy theory. The motivational process amongst the male and female users was then examined to establish whether there was any difference. Results: This study found no gender difference in all the variables considered, including interaction service quality, outcome (need satisfaction,) service satisfaction, users’ performance of service, past experience, expectancy and effort. Conclusion: This study found no gender difference in all the variables investigated. The implication of the findings was that there is no need for mainstreaming gender in service programming in the library service.