Access to and use of computer ergonomics related information among PhD students in East Africa: a case of University of Dares Salaam -Tanzania and Makerere University- Uganda
This study has assessed PhD students’ access to and use of computer ergonomics related information in East Africa where the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) and Makerere University (MUK) have been used as study areas. PhD students’ involvement in the study was considered important given their need for and duration of computer usage in their studies. A close-ended questionnaire was used to collect data from a sample of 221 PhD students [151 (68.3%) from the UDSM and 70 (31.7%) from MUK]. The study used a factor analysis to analyze information needs while descriptive statistics were used to find frequencies and mean values, and rank information sources. In-depth interviews were used to complement quantitative data. The data collected through this method were analyzed thematically. From the data analyzed, the study has found a large information and knowledge gap among PhD students. The gap spans across areas such as required technologies, computer working environments, recommended ergonomically friendly operational procedures, and effects of poor computer ergonomics. The study has also found that interpersonal communication through colleagues/friends, informal discussions within PhD clubs, medical officers or physiotherapists, social media and other internet sources are the dominant computer ergonomics information sources. Inspired by Ranganathan’s theory, the study, among other things, recommends striking a balance between information sources so as to more effectively meet users’ information needs.
Keywords: Information access to and use; computer ergonomics; computer ergonomics information; PhD students; habitual computer users; universities
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