Cross-Cultural Digital Information-Seeking Experiences

The Case of Saudi Arabian Female International Students




digital shift, information-seeking behavior, Saudi female international students


The number of Saudi female international students (SFISs) pursuing higher degrees in Western countries has increased dramatically. Many are faced with unusual challenges, especially acting without a male’s permission, interacting with males, and using an open, free Internet. This article proposes that SFISs experience a “digital shift” whereby their cultural, educational, and digital backgrounds impact their information-seeking behavior in Australia. The study used a qualitative interpretivist methodology, interviewing a diverse group of SFISs studying in Australia, to better understand this impact on their everyday information needs and use of information sources. Findings indicate that SFISs’ imperfect online search skills, exacerbated by English language deficiency, increase their challenges. Recommendations for supporting SFISs are offered for institutions and service providers.

Author Biographies

Haifa Binsahl, University of Melbourne, Australia

HAIFA BINSAHL, PhD, was awarded her doctorate in July 2018 from the University of Melbourne, Australia. She is a Saudi female student sponsored by the King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz Scholarship Program. Her major interests are computing and information systems, information-seeking behavior, and cross-cultural issues.

Shanton Chang, University of Melbourne, Australia

SHANTON CHANG, PhD, is Associate Professor in the School of Computing and Information Systems, University of Melbourne. His interests include health information-seeking behavior, international education, technology in education, IT security, and organizational culture.

Rachelle Bosua, Open University, The Netherlands

RACHELLE BOSUA, PhD, is a researcher and writer at the Faculty of Management, Science, and Technology at the Open University of the Netherlands. Interests include knowledge management, sharing, and strategy, and social media and networks. 


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How to Cite

Binsahl, H., Chang, S., & Bosua, R. (2020). Cross-Cultural Digital Information-Seeking Experiences: The Case of Saudi Arabian Female International Students. Journal of International Students, 10(4), 872–891.



Research Articles (English)