Information behaviour of Kuwaiti legal professionals
This thesis reports results of a research study into the information behaviour of Kuwaiti legal professionals. The main aims of the research were to investigate the information behaviour and the information needs of Kuwaiti legal professionals, and examine whether the existing legal information sources and services meet their needs. The theoretical framework for this research was derived from the investigation of information behaviour in general, and studies of legal professionals in particular. Wilson's (1996) model of information behaviour was also used to develop the conceptual framework of this research. This model takes into account four types of information seeking behaviour: active search, passive search, passive attention and ongoing search. This model helped in formulating research questions and hypotheses and the design of data collections methods. It was used also as a tool for organising the interpretation and discussion of the research findings. The research methods were designed from a user-centred perspective, including using data collection methods that are supportive of user-centred research. Triangulation was used in data collection by the use of questionnaires, interviews and critical incidents technique. The participants of the research included legal academics, legal practitioners such as state lawyers, prosecutors and private lawyers, law librarians, legal publishers and legal database producers in Kuwait. The results showed that a personal collection is the source used most by Kuwaiti legal professionals. The majority did not use electronic sources such as databases and the Internet. A large percentage also did not use law libraries. The majority of academics sought information themselves, whereas the majority of practitioners relied on the assistance of others. The majority of respondents had no training on the use of information sources. The majority also relied on internal communication as a channel for information exchange more than external communication. The majority of respondents scanned between one or two journals, although journals should be among the major information sources for legal professionals. On the other hand, newspapers ranked first for serendipity for both academics and practitioners. New books were ranked as a first source by practitioners for updating information, whereas journals were ranked first for academics. These results showed the information seeking problems of the legal professionals. This led to the development of the interface requirement for the design of a prototype Kuwaiti Legal Information System (KLIS) interface. The aim of the system was to provide relevant and up-to-date information, and links to other information sources and services in order to improve communication channels at both national and international level. The system also sought to be cost-effective. Finally, a heuristic usability evaluation was undertaken by consulting a number of experts on the system's usability and contents. Conclusions are drawn and recommendations for further research and to stakeholders are made.