An Investigation of Cultural Influence on Academic Library Usage and Experience of International Medical Students from Asian Countries: a Case Study of Students at the Christchurch School of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch
This research uses a qualitative methodology to analyse the academic library usage and experiences of International Medical (IM) students from an Asian cultural background studying medicine at the Christchurch School of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand. There has been little research done investigating the library experiences of students from other cultures, despite international evidence that usage habits and experiences of these cohorts can differ greatly from those of local students. With increasing numbers of students from other cultures studying in New Zealand, it seemed that data should be gathered to inform the development of library services. Fifteen 4th and 5th year students from culturally Asian backgrounds participated in focus groups using semi-structured interviews, and transcripts of these interviews were analysed using narrative and discourse analysis. The findings support the work of Hofstede and indicate that an Asian cultural background has a significant impact on students' knowledge of, and ability to utilise, academic library services; however, it is also evident that such knowledge and ability is eventually acquired by students through their friendship groups, but this is often in an ad-hoc manner. It is recommended that academic libraries develop greater awareness of the impact that cultural background can have on the library usage and experience of the increasing numbers of students from foreign cultural backgrounds in New Zealand medical settings in particular, and academic settings in general.