Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


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The pattern of Internet use and the rate at which undergraduate students use the Internet should be greatly influenced by the primary purpose for which it has been provided (academic). The use pattern and use rate of the Internet for this purpose also has much to do with its adoption as a medium of meeting information needs over other media. The uses and gratifications theory on which this research is anchored, suggests that media use serves functions by some specific content or by the medium in question. It sees the audience as active seekers of media in a goal-oriented way that provides them with the means of gratifying a variety of needs and that media users are aware of their needs. 390 respondents were surveyed at the Nelson Mandela and Fort Hare Universities using quantitative and qualitative methods. With findings from the study indicating a 72.3%, attesting to making use of the Internet daily for an average of six hours, entertainment, communication and social networking purposes were the main activities undergraduate students spent the time on. The use of the Internet for academic purpose ranked last. From the findings of the study, the goal of undergraduate students when using the Internet, as assumed by UGT, is not to fulfil the cognitive need type. The use of the Internet is mainly driven by the desire to meet the social interaction need type (communication and social networking), which is not the primary reason which Institution provides free campus-wide Internet access.