The factors that influence a lawyer’s use of and ability to develop effective electronic information seeking behaviour
Research Problem: The purpose of this research was to discover the factors that influence a New Zealand lawyer’s use of and ability to develop effective electronic information seeking behaviour. There have been no previous studies undertaken in New Zealand to understand the cognitive reasons and the reasons directly related to the resources themselves that impact on why lawyers do, or do not look for information effectively from electronic resources. Methodology: A phenomenological study design was used in order to understand an event from the viewpoint of the participants. Nine New Zealand lawyers participated, providing demographic information and taking part in semi-structured interviews. In addition two of these lawyers took part in a further participant observation. Results: The results indicated that factors personal to the applicant such as their previous training, electronic experience, personality and age have an impact on their ability to develop effective electronic information seeking behaviour. In addition external factors such as cost, time and lack of access directly related to electronic resources also have an impact. Implications: Based on the findings of this report it was found that electronic resources were considered to be an important part of a lawyer’s work and gaining increasing significance. However not all lawyers have the ability to make full use of these electronic resources. Therefore it is important that lawyers are provided with the opportunity to undertake appropriate training and to access high quality electronic resources. Further study needs to be undertaken to look at strategies and training methods required by lawyers and their employers to improve these skills.