Media as a scholarly source of information: evidence from legal theses and dissertations

Keywords: Theses and dissertations, legal education, media, Newspapers, Magazines, Television and Radio


This study sought to determine the citation of media sources by law students in South Africa. Data were gathered from theses and dissertations of selected law schools in the country using specifically designed excel spreadsheets comprising columns for citations and sources, among others. The results, in relation to the research questions of the study, indicate that media, as a source of information, was the least cited while other secondary sources of information such as journal articles and books were among the most cited sources. Regarding usage of the media, the results show that newspapers had a high citation rate, followed by Television, radio, with magazines coming last. The study findings further indicate that two African economic giants, South Africa and Nigeria, were among the top origin of the media cited, alongside the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. The results further indicate that the Mail and Guardian, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and the Economist magazine, were the most cited forms of media. The study also indicates a positive but weak relationship between scholarly (citation) and public impact (circulation) of media sources.


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