Information seeking behaviour of distance learning students: a case study of the Open University of Tanzania, Arusha region


  • Ireneus Luambano University of Dar es Salaam Library Services


Information seeking behaviour, distance education, distance learning students, Open University of Tanzania (OUT)


This study examined the information seeking behaviour of undergraduate distance learning students of the Open University of Tanzania (OUT). The study was carried out in Arusha region, one of the OUT centres in Tanzania. Data were collected mainly through questionnaires, which were distributed to 60 students, supplemented by interviews with two OUT teaching staff and one public librarian, Focus Group Discussion with six students, as well as participant observation. The Statistical Package and Service Solution (SPSS) was used to analyse quantitative data, whereas qualitative data was subjected to content analysis. The findings reveal that, although respondents used mostly textbooks, there was a shortage of relevant and current textbooks in Arusha Public Library. The study  also established that not all the respondents used the Internet, mainly due to lack of access, low bandwidth, lack of requisite search skills and lack of librarian support in effective use of the Internet. This limited use of information problem was compounded by time and geographical barriers. On the basis of these findings, he study recommends the provision of Internet access at the Arusha Public Library, equipping the library with relevant resources in both print and electronic formats for OUT students, prioritising awareness creation on scholarly online e-resources available as well as organising information literacy programmes.