Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate factors that affect web searching behaviour of the
students of the University of Zambia (UNZA).
Design/methodology/approach – This study adopted a qualitative research approach in order to get an
insight into the interactions of the students at the UNZA with the real web situation. A post-search
questionnaire was used as a tool to gather information from 65 Library and Information Science students
about search techniques used, web experience, and subject knowledge of users.
Findings – This study shows that the main purpose for using the internet by students at the UNZA is for
academic work. The findings also show that factors such as experience and topic familiarity had an effect on
search behaviour, whereas, age of searcher did not affect the search technique used. Google was preferred for
searching more than electronic databases.
Originality/value – This is the first systematic examination of students online search behaviour in
Zambia. It allows the researchers to compare with search behaviour of students in a different social