Users' perceptions of quality: understanding legal practioners' use of online research tools

Patricia Kemp, Robert Hunt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


The Internet is facilitating an explosion of content and new search tools. As a result it is essential that knowledge workers be increasingly proficient in finding, analysing and evaluating large amounts of electronic content. Loss of productive time due to poor results from using search engines to conduct online research was estimated at US$31 billion during 2003. The need for technological literacy has never been so great. The practice of law is one such area fundamentally changing by these developments. Legislators, judges and legal practitioners are being forced to embrace the Internet as the new delivery system for legal materials. This paper presents initial findings of a survey of over 300 Australian legal practitioners' use of online research tools to do legal research. A new conceptual model based on the Technology Acceptance Model is developed and the effects of perceived content quality, perceived search engine quality, perceived usefulness and individual factors on usage are examined. The results indicate that user experience alone contributes over 50% of the variance in usage and is a significant predictor of use of online research tools. The results suggest that quality perceptions of content and search engines are not strong predictors of use. This research confirms that individual factors play a more important part in predicting use of new technology in a professional setting. For practitioners, the results highlight the importance of hands-on experience and the need for effective change strategies to help legal professionals adopt new technologies. With increases in legal information delivered online it will become necessary for the profession to more actively manage the migration to online usage.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 8th QMOD Conference
Subtitle of host publicationcreating values for people, organizations and societies
EditorsJ. Dahlgaard
Place of PublicationPalermo, Italy
PublisherUniversity of Palermo
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventInternational Quality Management and Organisational Development Conference (8th : 2005) - Palermo, Italy
Duration: 29 Jun 20051 Jul 2005


ConferenceInternational Quality Management and Organisational Development Conference (8th : 2005)
CityPalermo, Italy


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