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

Abbas, Z., MacFarlane, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-8057-0737 & Robinson, L. ORCID: 0000-0001-5202-8206 (2017). Use of Mobile Technologies by Law Students in the Law Library: an Exploratory Study. Legal Information Management, 17(3), pp. 180-189. doi: 10.1017/s1472669617000354


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 publication 1 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.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been published in a revised form in Legal Information Management, This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution or re-use. © The Author(s) 2017.
Publisher Keywords: smartphones; mobile technology; surveys
Subjects: K Law
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Library & Information Science
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