Nalumaga on Information Access and Use by Legislators in the Ugandan Parliament

Dr. Ruth Nalumaga of Makerere University presented a paper entitled Information access and use by legislators in the Ugandan Parliament, at ISIC 2012: The Information Behavior Conference, 4-7 September, in Tokyo.

Dr. Nalumaga says that the paper will be published “in the January [2013] issue of Information Research.”

Here is the abstract:

Introduction. This article arises out of previous research (Nalumaga, 2009) on information challenges and possibilities encountered by legislators in the Ugandan Parliament. This paper explored information practices at Parliamentary level and the main objective is highlighting the influences of the context of legislative activities on the information behavior of legislators. Female members of Parliament were a major point of analysis due to their prior status as a previously under-represented social group in mainstream politics. Levels of access to and use of information were scrutinised across genders.

Methods. In-depth interviews with a thematic incremental guide were adopted and a total of thirty five (35) Legislators participated. The guide featured questions on information acquisition and use through formal structures, for example the Parliamentary and other libraries; the Parliamentary research unit; access to and use of electronic information; personal initiatives, like own subscriptions. Intermediaries/Library staff were interviewed as well as direct observations.

Analysis. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed at two levels, the primary and secondary. At primary level, categories of different information sources were highlighted and corresponding information behaviour. The secondary level analyzed the Parliamentary context and its influences across gender.

Results. Information behavior exhibited included both active solicitation and passive provision. Evenness in access tied closely with instances of ‘passive’ provision. Information needs that required active seeking exhibited a gendered divide.

Conclusion. Male legislators, possibly as political insiders, appeared more adaptive to inconsistencies in the Information provision. Women legislators could take leaf from some low cost investments for effectiveness.

For full text of the paper please contact the author.

Thanks to Dr. Nalumaga for allowing me to post the abstract.

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