Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Library & Information Science

Supervisor

Jacquelyn Burkell

Abstract

This thesis sought to describe the influence of Need for Cognition and Need for Cognitive Closure on the information behaviour of undergraduate students. Following a mixed-methods design, qualitative data were collected first to provide insights into the relationship. The second phase used an information behaviour scale developed for this study. Results were subjected to a factor analysis to identify different aspects of information behaviour, which were then used as the dependent measures in a series of analyses of variance with two traits as independent variables.

Need for Cognition, as indicated by the results of the first phase, influences the general enthusiasm of individuals towards information-related activities. This has an impact on the number of sources that are used, the ways in which information is evaluated and how information is shared. This influence is also reflected in the results of the second phase, which show that individuals with a higher Need for Cognition show a greater tendency to adhere to well-received practices for information seeking, along with a greater desire for intellectual independence. In contrast, the results of the first phase indicate that individuals high in Need for Cognitive Closure tend to rely more on resources that are familiar to them and easy to understand. This is reflected in the results of the second phase, which show that these individuals tend to prefer familiarity and simplicity. In addition, individuals who are high in Need for Cognition and low in Need for Cognitive Closure also have a greater desire for intellectual independence.


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