Factors impacting library-related uses of mobile phones by students in public universities in Malawi

Keywords: Mobile phones, ownership of mobile phones, university students, academic staff, public universities, Malawi.


The purpose of this paper is to report on findings of a study that was conducted to determine academic and library-related uses of mobile phones by students in public universities in Malawi. The study surveyed students at Mzuzu University, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Kamuzu College of Nursing, the Polytechnic, and the College of Medicine. Self-completion structured questionnaires were administered to a sample of 370 students. The data collected was analysed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and the results are presented in the form of percentages, tables and graphs. Findings indicated that mobile phone ownership among the students was very high with 99.7% of the respondents owning one or more mobile phones. Findings further showed that students used mobile phones for searching e-books, e-journals, the library website and the catalogue. Most of the students indicated that ease of accessing services using mobile phones (200; 88.1%), and the internet’s ability to be accessed from anywhere at any time (185; 81.5%) positively impacted on their use of mobile phones. Conversely, the high cost of mobile internet and websites not being mobile-friendly were the notable factors that negatively impacted the use of mobile phones. Studies of this nature have not been previously conducted in public universities in Malawi. This study will, therefore, inform researchers intending to conduct similar or related studies in public universities in Malawi.

Author Biographies

Aubrey Harvey Chaputula, Mzuzu University Library
Aubrey Harvey Chaputula (PhD), is Senior Assistant Librarian at Mzuzu University Library in Malawi.
Stephen Mutula, College of Humanities University of KwaZulu-Natal Republic of South Africa
Stephen Mutula (PhD), is Professor & Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor in the College of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Republic of South Africa.


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