Transient migrants’ information-seeking journey: the case of Saudi Arabian female international students
AffiliationComputing and Information Systems
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusThis item is embargoed and will be available on 2020-06-28.
© 2018 Dr. Haifa Mohammad Saeed Binsahl
The number of transient migrants around the world is increasing, and with it a corresponding growth in research publications. This is particularly the case for a specific group of transient migrants, international students, who face a particular challenge namely, ineffective information seeking. This research focuses on the information-seeking behaviour (ISB) journey of Saudi Arabian Female International Students (SFIS) as they transition between Saudi Arabia and Australia. SFIS represent a culturally and digitally unique population of transient migrants. SFIS represent a culturally and digitally unique population of transient migrants. Coming from Saudi Arabia, a nation with distinct cultural norms, SFIS face many academic and everyday cultural and digital journey adjustments, as well as the challenges of reading, writing, and conducting research in a foreign language. Despite research on international students’ information needs and ISB, there is little research on SFIS’ ISB experiences, hence the rationale for this study. The data collection comprised two qualitative studies: Study 1 explored the challenges and changes SFIS faced in the first stage of their ISB journey (from Saudi Arabia to Australia). Study 2 explored the ISB challenges and changes SFIS faced on their return to Saudi Arabia some years later. The findings of this research shed more light on the impact of both transitions on SFIS' ISB. Recent arrivals’ language and ISB difficulties are exacerbated by their unfamiliarity with many online technologies commonly used in the western society, ignorance of Western learning and research methods, inexperience of mixing freely with males, and an almost total dependence on their male relatives. Over time, these initial challenges turn into opportunities including enhanced online ISB and research skills, increased confidence interacting with males, and more independence. This maturity, however, creates its own readjustment ISB challenges on their return back to their home country. Returnees found that Saudi Arabia lags behind other societies in professional online communication technologies, and there are few up-to-date reliable sources in Arabic. Little effort has been made to explore the theoretical underpinnings of transient migrants' ISB, as existing ISB models do not address these journeys. Through the case study work of SFIS, this longitudinal research has three main contributions: * providing new evidence demonstrating how the transition between different cultural and digital environments challenges and changes the ISB of transient migrants living and studying in an open society such as Australia, * presenting a better understanding of the post-study ISB experiences of returned transient migrants when they return to their home country’s cultural and digital environment, and * proposing an explanatory ISB model that extends Decomposed Theory of Planned Behaviour (DTPB) taking account the key factors that affect the ISB of transient migrants when moving back and forth between their home and their host countries’ cultural and digital environments.
Keywordsinformation-seeking behaviour (ISB); transient migrants; international students; Saudi female international students (SFIS); cross-cultural challenges; gender segregation; digital challenges; DTPB.
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