Relationship between Users’ Past Experience and Cognitive Factors that Influence Information Seeking: A Case Study of Graduate Students in Nairobi, Kenya


  • School of Education, Kenyatta University, Nairobi City



Cognitive Factors, Expectancy Theory, Graduate Students, Information Seeking, Users’ Past Experience


Background: Previous studies have not sufficiently explained what triggers users to use or avoid using reference information service. They have not identified the different factors that trigger information seeking. The studies have suggested that users’ past experience as a variable may be useful for better understanding the cognitive and social background of human information processing and may have important implications in information seeking process. Objective: There is need to investigate the relationship between users’ past experience and cognitive information seeking behavior as thiscan help information system design. Method: To develop the variables, Vroom’s expectancy theory of motivation was used. A descriptive survey method was used to study a sample size of 384 students. Results: Results showed evidence that expectancy theory can be used to explain students’ information seeking behavior. Depending on the users’ experience, their perception of service quality, need satisfaction and personal competencies, students would seek or avoid using the library in the future. Conclusion: Cognitive information seeking process can be influenced by user-centric service. Users’ past experiences, their perception of service quality, need satisfaction and personal competencies are major factors in deciding on using or avoid using the library in the future. The findings support the idea that understanding cognitive information behavior can help University libraries to plan appropriate services. The implications of this study are that there are key cognitive drivers such as user past experiences that trigger users’ information seeking behavior in Academic libraries.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


Ary, D., Jacobs, L. C. and Sorensen, C. (2010). Introduction to research in education. Wadworth, 35(1): 63-68. https://

Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Towards unifying theory of behavioural change. Psychological Review, 84: 191-215. PMCid:PMC4010856

Brindesi, H., Monopoli, M. and Kapidakis, S. (2013). Information seeking and searching habits of Greek physicists and astronomers: A case study of undergraduate students. Proceedings in Social and Behavioural Sciences, 73: 785-93.

Campbell, J. P., Dunnette, M. D., Lawler, E. E., Weick, K. E. and Companies, M.-H. (1970). Managerial Behavior, Performance and Effectiveness. Newyork, McGrawHill Book Company. oclc/934753045?referer=br&ht=edition.

Caperon, L. (2014). Developing adaptable efficient mobile library services: Librarians as Enablers. Ariadne Web Magazine for Information Professionals, p. 73.

Caraway, M. (2012). Channel surfing to success: Want to send them away happy? Take a few tips from the business world.

Carol, T. (2003). Use and Users of electronic Library resources: An overview and analysis of recent research studies. Council on Library and Information Resources, p. 72.

Cochrun, W. G. (1977). Sampling Techniques. Willy & Sons; p. 448. +Techniques%2C+3rd+Edition-p-9780471162407.

Conrad, S. (2014). Toward improved discoverability of scholarly content: Cross-sector collaboration essentials. Collaborative Librarianship, 6(1): 42-46.

Drakopoulos, S. A. and Grimani, K. (2013). Maslow’s needs hierarchy and the effect of income on happiness levels. Munich Personal RePEc Archive.

Gibbs, D. B., Hollingsworth, J. and Slania, H. (2012). Assessing the research needs of graduate students at Georgetown University. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 38(5): 268-76.

Greenberg, R. and Bar-Ilan, J. (2014). Information needs of students in Israel: A case study of a multicultural society. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 40(2): 185-91. abs/pii/S0099133313001286.

Kassim, N. A. (2017). Evaluating users’ satisfaction on academic library performance. Malaysian Journal of Library and Information Science, 14(2): 101-15.

Khaola, P. and Mabilikoane, M. (2015). Perception of library service quality, satisfaction and frequency of use of library resources. Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 7(1): 44-52. ijhss/article/view/118783.

Masinde, J. M. (2016). Investigation of mobile library user needs of international students based on the expectancy theory of motivation. Research Journal of Library Sciences, 4(5): 14-30.

Ozoemelem, O. A. (2009). Use of electronic resources by postgraduate students of the department of Library and Information Science of Delta State University, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Abraka, Nigeria University, Abraka.

Porter, L. W. and Lawler, E. E. (1968). Managerial Attitudes and Performance. Homewood, Ill., R.D. Irwin, Irwin-Dorsey Series in Behavioral Science in business, Dorsey Press; p. 209.

Rehman, S. U. (2016). Measuring service quality in public and private sector University Libraries of Pakistan, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Information Management and Libraries, 13(1): 1-11.

Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2009). Research Methods for Business Students. Pearson. Students%2C%205th%20Edition.pdf.

Savolainen, R. (2013). Approaching the motivators for information seeking: Viewpoint of attribution theories. Library and Information Science Research, 35(1): 63-68.

Tsia-ying Hsieh, K.-c. W. (2015). The influence of gender difference on the information-seeking behaviors for the graphical interface of children’s digital library. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 3(3): 200-06.

Vroom, V. H. (1964). Work and motivation. Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh. PAJ, New York: Wiley; p. 331.

Wu, K. C., Tang, Y. M. and Tsai C. Y. (2014). Graphical interface design for children seeking information in a digital library. Visualization in Engineering, 2(5).

Yang, K. (2010). Making sense of statistical methods in social research. Sage.



How to Cite

Daniel Wambiri, M. (2020). Relationship between Users’ Past Experience and Cognitive Factors that Influence Information Seeking: A Case Study of Graduate Students in Nairobi, Kenya. Journal of Information and Knowledge, 57(4), 181–194.



Received 2019-12-26
Accepted 2020-07-31
Published 2020-08-28