Collaborative information seeking behaviour of student groups in vocational education training institutions in Zanzibar

Leontine Nkebukwa, Ireneus Luambano


This stydy investigated collaborative information seeking behaviour of student groups at
Vocational Education Training Institutions in Tanzania. Specifically, it sought to find out
student group information needs and sources they use to meet their information needs. The
study was conducted at Amali Pemba and Amali Zanzibar, and involved observation of two
student groups namely tailoring students whose collaborative task was servicing of sewing
machine (Amali Pemba) and electronics students whose collaborative task was of
repairing a television set (Amali Zanzibar). Data were collected through observations,
interviews and Focus Group Discussions. Data collected was qualitatively analysed using
thematic analysis techniques. Key findings revealed a wide range of varying student
group information needs pursuing two courses, which varied according to tools and type
of task assigned to the group. Specifically, the student group servicing sewing machines
needed information on sewing machine servicing steps and procedures, and tools to use,
and the group responsible for repairing a television set needed information on television
faults and how to fix them. Findings further revealed that in order to meet individual group
information needs, both students groups relied largely on group members and teachers.
Other sources consulted were search engines, internet, and colleagues outside the team or
group. The lack of libraries and computers connected to the Internet negatively affected
group information seeking and successful accomplishment of group tasks. It was also
revealed that respondents were not aware of collaborative search tools which could have
enabled users’ to communicate and collaborate synchronously during the information
seeking and retrieval. In view of the above, this study recommends that libraries with
internet connectivity should be established in all VET institutions, to enable students to
access information they need. Furthermore, awareness should be created on collaborative
search tools and software and hardware should be acquired to support CIS.


Collaborative Information Seeking Behaviour, Vocational Education Training Institutions (VETs), Zanzibar

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