Information seeking behavior in Arabic and English: A case study of scholars at Shaqra University

Mohammed Fathy Mahmoud Elgllab*, Ahmed Maher Khafaga Shehata

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this paper is to explore the information seeking behaviour of scholars working at Shaqra University in both Arabic and English languages; to investigate if there are differences in the way scholars seek information while using different languages; to identify challenges while seeking information and to describe the approaches followed by the scholars to seek information. The study deployed a quasi-experimental approach. The sample of the study consisted of 20 participants who are affiliated to Shaqra University. Each participant was asked to solve five tasks, which were designed to capture participants’ information seeking behaviour. Think aloud protocol was also used to gather more data from the participants to enrich the collected data and to fully understand scholars’ behavior. The study found that the participants’ information seeking consists of four main stages: identifying the information needs, selecting the keywords, examining the results and filtering the results. The data revealed that there is no difference between information seeking in Arabic and English languages. However, participants who are from a non-Arabic background were more accustomed to searching information in the English language. There are few studies investigating information seeking behavior of Arabic language speakers. Additionally, fewer studies have tried to explore differences in information seeking behavior while using different languages. The value of the current study lies in being the first study that focuses on investigating information seeking behavior at Shaqra University. Additionally, it is one of a few studies that examine cross-language information seeking practices of Arabic language speakers and the obstacles that face them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-361
Number of pages11
JournalInformation Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2019


  • Arabic language
  • cross-language information seeking
  • English language
  • Information seeking behavior
  • Saudi Arabia
  • scholars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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