TABLE OF CONTENTS                               

TITLE PAGE                                                                                                               i

APPROVAL PAGE                                                                                                      ii

CERTIFICATION PAGE                                                                                             iii

DEDICATION                                                                                                             iv

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS                                                                                          v

TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                                                              vi

LIST OF TABLES                                                                                                        ix

LIST OF FIGURES                                                                                                      xi

ABSTRACT                                                                                                                 xii


Background of the Study                                                                                           1

Statement of the Problem                                                      14

Purpose of the Study                                                                          15

Research Questions                                                                                16

Hypotheses                                                                                            17

Significance of the Study                                                                      18

Scope of the Study                                                                                  19


Conceptual Framework  21

Concept of University Libraries                  21

Concept of Agricultural Researchers                                       23

Concept of Availability                                                                              24

Concept of Accessibility                                               26

Concept of Utilization                28

The Concept of Agricultural Research Literature    31

The need for Agricultural Research Literature in Universities of Agriculture      Libraries                                                                                              33

Problems of Accessing and Utilizing Agricultural Research Literature                  37

Agricultural Research and Scholarship in the Digital Environment  41

Conceptual Schema for ARL in Libraries of Nigerian Universities of Agriculture 47

Theoretical Framework 48

The Constructivist Theory by Jerome Bruner (1915)                    48

Theory of Critical Thinking by John Dewey (1910) 50

Diffusion of Innovations Theory (DIO) by Everest Rogers (1962)              52

Review of Empirical Studies 54

Summary of the Literature Review                                                             71

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHOD                                         73

Design of the Study                                                                                                  73

Area of the Study                                                                                                     73

 Population of the Study                                                                                           74

Sample and Sampling Technique                                            74

Instrument for Data Collection                                                             74

Validation of the Instrument                                                                76

Reliability of the Instrument                                                                                  76

Method for data Collection                                                                                      76

Method for Data Analysis                                                                                        77


Results of Research Questions and Hypotheses                                         78

Summary of Major Findings                                                                           92

CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION                                                                                         96

Discussion of the Findings                                                                                       96

Educational Implications of the Study                                              99

Recommendations                                                                                                   102

Limitations of the Study                                                          104

Suggestions for Further Studies                                                           104

Conclusion                                                                                                               104

References                                                                                                               106

Appendix I: Distribution Population by Library Users119

Appendix II: Availability, Accessibility and Utilization of Agricultural

Research Literature Questionnaire (AAUARLQ)                                   110

Appendix III: Observation Checklist of Availability, Accessibility And

Utilization of Agricultural Research Literature by Researchers in Libraries of Nigerian Universities of Agriculture                                                             125

Appendix IV: Oral Interview with the University Librarian on Availability,

Accessibility and Utilization of Agricultural Research Literature by

Researchers in Libraries of Nigerian Universities of Agriculture         126

Appendix  V: Output of SPSS Analysis                                                                128

                                                     LIST OF TABLES

Table 1: Frequencies of Responses on Types of Agricultural Research Literature

Available to Researchers                                                                                 79

Table 2: t-test of Opinion on Types of Agricultural Research Literature

Subscribed to in the Libraries of Universities of Agriculture in Nigeria   80

Table 3: Descriptive Statistics of Responses on Extent Agricultural Research

Literature are Available to Researchers in Nigerian Universities

of Agriculture Libraries                                                                                 81

Table 4: t-test of Opinion on Availability of Agricultural Research

Literature Subscribed to in the Libraries of Universities of

Agriculture in Nigeria                                                                                     82

Table 5: Descriptive statistics of Extent of Accessibility to Agricultural

Research Literature                                                                                         83

Table 6: t-test of Opinion on Accessibility of Agricultural research

literature Subscribed to in University of Agriculture Libraries in Nigeria     84

Table 7: Descriptive statistics of Responses on Agricultural Research Literature

Utilized by Researchers in Libraries of Universities of Agriculture in

Nigeria                                                                                                                        85

Table 8: t-test of Opinion on Utilization of Agricultural Research

Literature Subscribed to in the Universities of Agriculture libraries 86

Table 9: Descriptive statistics of responses on Problems Faced by Researchers in

Availability, Accessing and Utilizing Agricultural Research Literature in

Libraries of Universities of Agriculture in Nigeria                                           87

Table 10: Chi-Square Test of Opinion on Problems Faced in Using Agricultural

Research Literature in libraries of Universities of Agriculture in Nigeria 88

Table 11: Descriptive statistics of responses on Strategies to Facilitate

Researchers Access and Use of Agricultural Research Literature in

Libraries of Universities of Agriculture in Nigeria     90

Table 12: Chi-Square Test of Opinion on Effective Strategies to Facilitate Researchers’ Access and Use of Agricultural Research Literature in Libraries of Universities of Agriculture in Nigeria   91 


Figure 1: Conceptual Schema for ARL in Libraries of Universities of

Agriculture in Nigeria 47

Figure 2: Diffusion of Innovation Graph                                                                   53       


This study was carried out to examine availability, accessibility and utilization of agricultural research literature to researchers in university of agriculture libraries in Nigerian. The universities were located at Umudike, Abia State, Abeokuta, Ogun State and Makurdi, Benue State. The study was guided by six research questions and six null hypotheses. The researcher employed a survey research design. The population of the study comprised of 1,380 researchers, 98 were on their Doctoral, 270 were on their Masters Degree Programmes and 1032 were academic staffs that are registered users in all the three Universities of Agriculture Libraries. A sample of 301 registered users including academic staffs was used for the study using simple random sampling technique in selecting the respondents. Questionnaire titled “Availability, Accessibility and Utilization of Agricultural research literature Questionnaire (AAUARLQ)” was used as instrument for data collection. Frequency tables, percentages, mean and standard deviation were used to analyze the data collected to answer to research questions, while t-test and Chi-Square statistics were used in testing the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The result of the study showed that, Agriculture Research Reports (ARL) such as journals, theses/dissertations, Food and Agriculture Organization reports, textbooks, newspapers, magazines, CD-ROMs, were available and accessible to a very large extent while Audio-visuals, seminar papers and workshop reports were available and accessible to researchers to a large extent as subscribed to, in Nigerian Universities of Agriculture Libraries. The research also showed that these ARL were available, accessible and utilized to a large extent. However, after applying observation checklist, there were certain problems faced by researchers in utilization of some agricultural research literature in Universities of Agriculture libraries such as CD-ROMs, A/V materials seminar papers and workshop reports: besides being inadequate in supply, some were outdated, and could not be used. It was recommended that, in order to effectively facilitate researchers’ access and use of these agricultural research literature in Nigerian Universities of Agriculture Libraries, CD-ROMs should be kept at the disposal of researchers and Nigerian Universities of Agriculture Libraries should be diligent in acquiring up-dated issues. Also, government should fund subscription of adequate Agriculture Research Reports for researchers, acquired Agriculture Research Reports should be processed and shelved on time, acquisition policy towards ARL should be of top priority, and again, Nigerian Universities of Agriculture Libraries should open college of agriculture branch libraries that will have adequate security measures for ARL.



Background to the Study

Library is a collection of information resources in print or in other forms that is organized and made accessible for reading or study. Today, the definition of the library has expanded to include not only print resources, but access to all kinds of resources in digital formats as well.  A library therefore, is an accumulation of   various intellectual materials many of which are in print format, on-line, database and in digital forms, and readers can gain access to them for reading, study and entertainment. Libraries are now de-emphasizing the principle of ownership in favor of the principle of access but ownership of print materials remains a principal label and a distinguishing mark between a library and an information centre. Agber and Mngutyo (2013), Agber, Ugbagir, Mgutyo and Amaakaven (2014) therefore, asserted that as reservoirs of society’s intellectual history and custodians of people’s knowledge and information, a core purpose of libraries wherever they may be found or are established, is to bring educational development and promote the peoples reading culture that is fast going down by making available information materials for study or reference. Moreover, libraries, irrespective of the type are meant to meet the information needs of their users, which agricultural students, scientists, researchers and practitioners in agriculture and related areas are not left out. It is in view of this that agricultural libraries are established.

Agricultural libraries have a lot of vital roles to play in the transformation of agricultural education to enable sustainable development in Nigeria. One of the roles is the provision of current information and documentation of research results as well as disseminating same to students, researchers and the public in general. Agricultural institutions were established to cater for agricultural education, research and extension of rural agriculture. For this reason, agricultural libraries provide information services to farmers, students, livestock producers, agricultural business organizations, research workers, subject specialist teachers; this is in anticipation to meet the challenge of man, food and hunger and to make for a sustainable development (Adeniyi&Ojo, 2015).

Abioye, Zaid and Egberongbe (2011) noted that developing the agricultural sector remains a critical factor towards the achievement of sustainable food production and, indeed, global food security. While indigenous agricultural knowledge is of immense value in improving food production, its documentation and dissemination remain a big challenge confronting librarians and other information professionals, particularly in Africa where cultural practices are prevalent. Nevertheless, the importance of the development of agricultural sector spurred the establishment of the three universities of agriculture by the federal government of Nigeria. They are: Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi (FUAM); Universities of Agriculture Abeokuta in Ogun State (UNAAB) and Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike in Abia State

The Federal University of Agriculture in Makurdi (FUAM) is a higher education institution in located in Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria. The university was established in 1988, following the recommendations of a 1987 federal government White Paper on Higher Education Curriculum and Development in Nigeria. The Universities of Agriculture Abeokuta in Ogun State was also established in 1988 and the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike in Abia State was established in 1992 (Commonwealth Secretariat, Nexus Strategic Partnerships, 2007 &Anyanwu, 2011). Essentially, the establishment of these universities of agriculture brought the emergence of agricultural libraries.

Agricultural research libraries as established under the auspices of agricultural research institute are set aside for the use of students, agricultural scientists, researchers and practitioners in agriculture. The emphasis for the agricultural research libraries is the dissemination of specialized information primarily devoted to a special discipline, offering specialized services to specialized clientele. For any effective and successful research and development to take place, it is necessary for the agriculturalist to acquire the knowledge from the library. Importantly, libraries support agricultural research by enhancing access to information through effective management of its resources and provision of wide range of information services to researchers, scientists and policy maker in agriculture sector (Rhoe, Oboh& Shelton, 2010; Uganneya, Ape &Ugbagir, 2012;Daudu, &Shehu, 2014).

The primary objective of university of agriculture libraries is to support teaching learning and research in line with the vision, mission and mandate of these universities. The establishment of universities of agriculture in Nigeria was anchored on the philosophy that national development could be enhanced by properly integrated and coordinated agricultural education. Thus, the agricultural Universities are to strive to contribute to Nigeria’s greatness through self-sufficiency in food and fiber production as disseminated through teaching, research, training and extension. So the universities of agricultures’ common mandate, “To promote human resource development in Agriculture, Science and Engineering (ASET) through teaching, research and extension services” common vision “To become a major Institutional player in the process of national and global human resource capacity building in Agriculture, Science, Engineering and Technology for rapid economic growth” and common mission “To develop the human mind to be creative, innovative, research-oriented, competent in the area of specialization, knowledgeable in entrepreneurship and dedicated to service” (UAM 2015) Therefore, the common objectives of establishing the Universities of Agriculture are:

  1. to encourage the advancement of learning and to uphold all persons without distinction of race, creed, sex or political conviction, the opportunity of acquiring a higher education in Agriculture. 
  2. to offer academic and professional programmes leading to the award of diplomas, first degrees, postgraduate research and higher degrees which emphasize planning, adaptive, technical, maintenance, developmental and adaptive skills in agriculture, agricultural engineering and allied professional disciplines with the aim of producing socially mature persons.
  3. to identify the agricultural problems and needs of Nigeria and to find solutions to them within the context of overall national development; to offer academic programmes, organize relevant training in relation to the training of manpower for agriculture in Nigeria.

The mandate, visions, mission and objectives of the universities of agriculture are only possible when there is intensive agricultural research.  It is an accepted fact that researchers in agriculture investigate and discover the fundamental laws governing plants’ and animals’ lives and their productivities and the ways in which these laws should be applied to the processes of plant and animal husbandry in order to bring greater productivity and economic efficiency to the agricultural industry. The information obtained from agricultural researches is compiled as agricultural research literature (ARL) which the results/findings are relevant and essential. It is said that research information is at the center of all scientific activities, and needs to be readily accessed if the results of scientific research are to be applied for the development of any sphere in the society. So, behind the mandate, vision and mission of the universities of agricultural education is the university library, which is the academic library serving the university community (Eze and Uzoigwe, 2013).

Academic libraries according to Akpohonor (2005) are libraries attached to tertiary institutions such as universities, polytechnics and colleges of education, colleges of agriculture, colleges of technology and also research institutes. The academic library, as Yusuf and Iwu (2010) put it, is the nerve centre or the hub around which scholarship revolves. An academic library, therefore, is a library designed for and its resources acquired, organized, retrieved or accessed for academic purposes. It is a library whose objectives are in line with the parent institution. It is an indispensable instrument for intellectual development, being a store-house of information to which users (students as well as lecturers) turn to for accessing information. According to Nwezeh and Shabi (2011), librarians have information dissemination as their predominant function. An academic library has a unique position as a potential educational force in the university community of staff and students of different levels especially in this era of information and communication technology which can facilitate the libraries’ capability to reach out to direct users as well as remote access users. Agboola and Bamigboye (2011) maintained that the quality and strength of any educational program depends on the library; not the library as a magnificent building but the use of it.

Ajibero in Eze and Uzoigwe (2013) sees a university library as the heart of the university using the human and material resources at its disposal to support teaching, learning and research objectives of the institution. A university Library is therefore, a building or a collection of information resources in a building in print, non-print, digital, and on-line formats in line with academic curriculum of that university.  Ajibero further reiterated that professional librarians that work in the university libraries especially in this information era have always engaged themselves with the collection, organization and dissemination of information resources to support research and learning. That is why librarians in the university libraries are fully recognized as academic staff.

The university libraries in playing their supportive role to the university education provide necessary resources and services more so in this information era. These enable the libraries to meet up the needs of their teaming patrons. Such resources range from print to non-print and electronic materials. Yusuf and Iwu (2010), Nwezeh and Shabi (2011) asserted that different users of university libraries utilize different materials provided by these libraries; such materials as reference materials, textbooks, journals, newspapers, past projects, electronic journals among others. Moreover, resources like books, journals, newspapers, government publications, indexes and abstracts are common information materials provided and utilized by academic libraries.

Having recognized that researches in agriculture are the most significant tools for sustainability of agricultural productivity and economic development in Nigeria, the policy makers, researchers and stakeholders in agriculture are also of the opinion that information services provision and utilization are key components of research and development efforts in agriculture, thus the need for effective library and information service provision. (Osigwe, in Uganneya, Ape and Ugbagir, 2012). According to Daudu, Chado and Igbashal (2009), the quantum of agricultural technology information available in the Nigerian systems developed by research institutes, and faculties of agriculture in universities is quite enormous.

Modern agricultural research and development efforts made have been partly attributed to the spread of information and the ability of researchers to access and utilize research results. The key tenet of this information service provision viewpoint is that researchers need to access and utilize information in order to optimally enhance their research and productivity outputs in agriculture (Griffith, 2006). Agricultural research findings/results tagged Agricultural research literature (ARL) are the cornerstone sources of information which researchers must lay as foundation for building concrete researches in agriculture. The information they cARLy are current, cogent, and complete. It is believed that books become outdated soon after they are published but research literatures are published at fixed frequencies, thereby, updating the works of other researchers. The ARL provides avenues for publishing newly completed researches which other researchers rely heavily upon in order to ensure that communication channel in the agricultural research world is not broken but kept alive. Academic libraries and especially university libraries are the mainstream of this channel through which all kinds of ARL are collocated and collected together and kept at the disposal of researchers thereby linking them with the research world. Nigeria therefore attaches great importance to high quality research in agriculture; and one type of information resource that is essential, indispensable and necessary to researchers and postgraduate students’ research activities in agriculture is the Agricultural research literature.

It is reported that various economic reform strategies are undertaken by governments over a period of about three decades on the agricultural sector in Nigeria. Such economic reform strategies were the exploitative strategy, agricultural project strategy, direct production strategy and integrated rural development strategy. Overall, these economic reform strategies were geared towards the achievement of self-sufficiency in food and food security, generation of gainful employment, increased production of raw materials for industries, increased production and processing of export crops, rational utilization of agricultural technologies for the improvement of life of its citizens. These strategies notwithstanding, government also pursued other on-going initiatives to step-up agricultural development across the country. Despite all the aforementioned reform policies and programmes, the performance of the sector had not fared better than it was before independence.

Although, Uganneya, Ape and Ugbagir (2011) were of the opinion that there has been a steady growth in agricultural information services provision in Nigeria, with government agricultural reforms strategies, Ugwu and Kanu (2012) observed that the persistent puzzle is: why is the growth in agricultural sector not impressive? What has been the research output in these institutions both in terms of quantity and quality of research; and what is the impact of these researches on agriculturists, farmers and the Nigerian economy? It is reasoned that the successes of agricultural research findings/results with the agricultural reform strategies may largely depend on three factors: availability, accessibility and utilization.

According to Reitz (2005) availability refers to the circulation status of a specific item or category of items in a library collection. Availability is again defined by International Telecommunication Union (2010) as the ability of an item to be in a state to perform a required function at a given instant of time or at any instant of time within a given interval, assuming that the external resources, if required, are provided. Generally speaking, availability of library material is the presence or otherwise of an item – such as agriculture research reports – to be in stock, not necessarily seen, used, or obtained by a library patron. Availability therefore, is a situation whereby an item or a book has been acquired, ready for access and use but not yet in hands of the person in need. Consequently, there is every need for an agricultural research literature to be available in the library collection. This is because, without the ARL been available, researchers cannot gain access and utilize them for purpose for which they were being sought. Availability entails an item being made suitable and ready for access and use, and man in society depends on information available for problem solving, planning, decision making and control.

Another thing concerning the situation with university libraries regarding availability of resources including ARL is that users get frustrated when they fail to find information in the library. The ARL are usually made available in limited number of copies by libraries that acquire them in print form. The limited acquisition policy whereby not more than two copies of any research reports can be acquired by a university library due to financial constraints. A large amount of information and data available in the library and information centers require some guidelines, techniques or even search engines to retrieve what is useful, relevant and applicable to the researcher’s needs. Researchers and other readers wish to access relevant information as quickly, easily and timely as they can so that they can cARLy out their assignments with less difficulty. This leads us to the need to ensure that agricultural research literature are accessible.

According to (Reitz, 2005) accessibility is the ease with which a person may, gain access to library materials as well as its online system, and obtain needed information regardless of format. It can also be viewed as the quality of being able to be located… by a person. The relevance of a library lies in the accessibility of its resources. A library with resources that could easily be accessed will obviously be a source of attraction and its resources will be utilized to optimum. Accessibility is therefore, getting in contact with a thing, person or item; handling your needed information or placing your information or item in a position whereby it is ready for use. A reader that has seen a book, research report or literature and is able to handle it has gained access to it. 

Access to information is critical for enabling citizens to exercise their voice, the volume of information in the world, especially the volume of electronically-stored information on our computers has increased exponentially since the 1980s (Atinmo, 2012 &Oriogu, 2015). If researchers and other readers wish to access relevant information quickly, easily and promptly so that they can carry out their researches with less difficulty, it therefore, means that there is the need to ensure that agricultural research literature are available and accessible. There are situations whereby a particular ARL may be accessible to only a few researchers because, the demand for accessibility is higher than availability. Accessibility of Agricultural research literature is as important as its availability for available reports may mean nothing to the prospective user if it cannot be accessed.  That means, if the library stocks two copies of an ARL of the same volume same number in a particular year and there are five researchers competing to use them concurrently, three of the researchers will not be able to gain access to any at the same time. Here, a rationing principle is usually devised by the library to regulate their use, a situation whereby a reader gains access to the reading material for a specified period of time say an hour or so after which the material is recovered and the right to gain access to the material is transferred to another reader. This illustration explains clearly the concept of accessibility in the context of this research work. Libraries acquire resources to meet the needs of its users (Ntui&Udah, 2015).

There are situations where Agricultural research literature may be in digital format. In the case of on-line materials there may still be the problem of accessibility due to shortage of workstations at On-line Public Access Catalogue (OPAC), (computers), power outage, shortage of computer operators etc.  The more accessible information sources are, the more likely they are to be used. Researchers tend to use information sources that require the least effort to access. Turner, (1988) postulated some obstacles militating against information accessibility in developing countries such as Nigeria. They include illiteracy and lack of awareness of the need for information; geographical distance between the industrialized countries of the world where facilities and infrastructures abound and about 96% of their population which is about 20% of the world’s population, are literate and educated, and can access information resources systematically, compared to the underdeveloped countries which constitute about 80% of the world’s population, 70% of these people, being illiterates, and unable to gain access to the information they need to improve their lives. Only about 30% of the people in developing countries like Nigeria are capable of accessing or affording information.

These few literate populace, according to, Aguolu and Aguolu (2002), include students and workers such as agricultural postgraduate students and researchers who seek information in prescribed sources such as textbooks, reference books and journals to enable them make remarkable progress in their jobs and educational courses and pass their examinations. The second category are the administrators, company managers, government policy-makers, who need information on various subjects to help make informed decisions and formulate sound policies. The National Assembly in Nigeria and various state assemblies, no doubt, require libraries in these regards. Thirdly, there are the experts-scientists, engineers, lecturers, postgraduates and undergraduates who seek existing information in order to use as a base for research, expansion of knowledge and for creating new knowledge. Inability of the experts to have information on what is already established knowledge in their own specialized areas and related fields may lead to needless duplication of research or in basing enquiries on wrong premises, which leads to wrong conclusions. Availability to accessibility of ARL will promote utilization of the materials.

According to WordNetFarlex Clipart Collection (2012) utilization means to find a profitable or practical use for, or the act of bringing something to bear using it for a particular purpose. In library and information science, utilization simply means the act of making use of library print or non- print materials and the information obtained there from, putting them to the use for which they were being sought. More often than not, knowledge and interventions produced through well conducted research remain largely untapped by the researchers and this is one reason why this research work becomes necessary.

It is clear that the agricultural research finding and discoveries even available today is such that the methods of sharing and accessing the information are increasingly proving inadequate for the need. It is also regretted that most of Agricultural Research Institutes and Universities of Agriculture in Nigeria do not even have modern internet and related facilities to meet the information needs of researchers in agriculture. Nigerian libraries in general lack information resources and information technology produced since the early 1980s because of their inability to purchase them. Moreover, much training in information technology and its applications in information handling were not available. All these may be probably the reasons for Nigeria’s inability to meet the expectation of providing adequate food because the findings from researches have left unused by farmers and agricultural personnel in improving and increasing agricultural outputs (Nweke as cited in Omeje, 2004).

In library and information science, utilization simply means the act of making use of library print or non- print materials and the information obtained there from, putting them to the use for which they were being sought. Such materials may include ARL or online materials or some facilities like internet, to obtain information for learning, teaching and research. Utilization of library materials, again, refers to the extent to which users make use of the resources of the information center or a library to extract the required facts, information and figures for consumption, enable writing or to create and extent knowledge. Utilization is the only singular criterion which could be used to determine the reason for purchasing and retaining a document within the collection of a library. The extent of the demand made for ARL is one important determinant of its utility and utilization. The first consideration is the potential need and ultimate utilization of such reports by the library clienteles who are postgraduate students and researchers that form the population that is being sampled in this work. Onifade, Ogbuiyi and Omeluzor (2013) observed that the major aim of any university library such as university of agriculture library is to support teaching, learning and research activities of its parent institution. University libraries must therefore, make sure that their resources are well utilized as this is essential for the educational development of the students.

Significantly, researchers are the major users of agricultural research literature. A researcher is a person who undertakes a careful, systematic investigation of a subject, or inquiry in a field of study, to establish facts, reveal underlying principles, or determine the current state of knowledge (Reitz, 2005). Researchers in agricultural research literature in universities of agriculture in Nigeria include lecturers, post graduate and undergraduate students as well as members of the university community. Others are lecturers and students from other research institutes who come to the university on request to carry out research using the resources and personnel assistance from the universities.