Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Journalism and Mass Communications


This investigation of information-seeking behavior focuses on how international students gather information in academic, social and work environments, and the sources they use. This study was inspired by the growing importance of information as a resource for improving the quality of life, as well as by the lack of research about the information gathering behavior of international students. This paper provides a review of the literature on information-seeking behavior, a report on a survey of the information-seeking behavior of undergraduate and graduate international students at South Dakota State University (Brookings, South Dakota) from all disciplines on campus. Questionnaires distributed to 185 students elicited data from 61 respondents on their educational environment, search strategies, selection of information channels, and demographic information. The study investigates students' use of the Internet, e-mail, different media, family and friends as sources of information. The results show that international students rely heavily on the Internet as a main source of information to stay in touch with their families and friends at home. Language barriers, lack of skills, the proximity of sources, and sources of information were identified as problems that international students face when seeking information. In terms of the usage of the Internet among international students, there was a statistically significant difference in the usage of the Internet based on country of origin. Students from more developed countries like the Peoples' Republic of China, Egypt, and Korea use the Internet 26 percent more often than the students from developing countries such as Nigeria, Malaysia, Sudan, and India. There were significant differences in the usage of the Internet as the main source of information according to gender and age. The results also showed a significant difference between genders in their usage of the Internet. Sixty percent of the male participants use the Internet as their main source of information compared to 29 percent of the female participants.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

South Dakota State University -- Students
Information retrieval
Students, Foreign -- South Dakota -- Brookings



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University