Influence of the World Wide Web on the citation patterns of Master of Information Studies students at the University of Natal during the period 1996 to 2002

  • Patrick Ngulube University of South Africa
  • Elizabeth ConceiÁ„o GarÁia Thompson University of KwaZulu-Natal
Keywords: Bibliographies, bibliometrics, citation analysis, information seeking, internet, world wide web


The Web has significantly changed the milieu of research and study. The study determined how this changing research and study environment has influenced the research behaviour of master's students at the University of Natal in South Africa. Explicit examples of the effect of the Web were drawn from analysing changes in the citation patterns of masters' theses during the years 1996, 1999 and 2002. Tacit influences on students' citation behaviour were inferred from an investigation of the level and nature of research supervisors' use and support of the Web for research. Findings of this study concluded that the use of the Web by students was rather limited. The use of this medium was disparate, with a few bibliographies accounting for much of the growth of Web resources. The study revealed greater support for this medium from the masters' programme supervisors than was evidenced from a citation analysis of the bibliographies of theses.
Research Articles