International Research Journal of Library, Information and Archival Studies

International Research Journal of Library, Information and Archival Studies Vol. 1(5), pp.136-143  December 2011      
Copyright © 2011 International Research Journals



Full Length Research Paper

The challenges of information retrieval by University students: A case study of post graduate students of the University of Ghana, Legon

* Fordjour R1, Badu EE2  and Wiredu AN3

1W.A.F. Consult Services, Ghana

2University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana

3CSIR-Savanna Agricultural Research Institute

*Corresponding author E-mail:

Received 02 November 2011; Accepted 09 December 2011



The poor performance of students in the various universities has been attributed to the inability of students to effectively retrieve information for academic work. The purpose of the study was to investigate the challenges of information retrieval among university students. The survey was used to investigate the awareness and use of information retrieval systems, document retrieved and its relevance to student’s information needs and challenges of information retrieval among students. Three student faculties in the University of Ghana, Legon participated in the study. A questionnaire consisting of 29 items was used as an instrument for collecting data. The results revealed that students from all the faculties considered are highly aware of the information retrieval systems. The Faculty of Science students used periodical index and journal contents more than the Social Studies and Arts Students. Bibliographies were most commonly used by Faculty of Arts students. The study also shows that the use of information retrieval tools to retrieve relevant information depends on the information needs of the student and their level of study. The Science students used the Boolean Operators whilst most of the students from the Social Studies and Art Faculties did not find the Boolean Operators useful in retrieving relevant information as expressed in their request. Majority of the Arts Students used the Index Phrase more than the Science and Social Studies Students. Majority of M.Sc students sometimes get the information they need more than Students from M.A, M.PHIL and Ph.D. The study recommends that information retrieval skills training programme should be embedded in the curriculum and undertaken at an appropriate time and supported by academic staff of the university. In addition, the university administrators should ensure that students in the Art faculty receive sufficient information retrieval skills training so that they are not prejudiced against due to subject chosen. Also, ensure that information retrieval skills training are pitched at a level which is appropriate to the individual needs of the student.


Keywords: Information, retrieval systems, information needs, challenges, periodical index, journalcontents, bibliographies, boolean operators, Index Phrase.

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