AVAILABILITY AND UTILIZATION OF WEB-BASED INFORMATION RESOURCES FOR RESEARCHERS IN UNIVERSITIES IN BENUE STATE

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page        –           –           –           –           –           –           –                       –           i

Table of Contents       –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           ii

Certification             –          –          –          –         –          –        –         –           –           iii

Dedication                –          –          –         –        –              –              –             –           iv

Acknowledgement      –         –             –          –           –           –          –           –           v

Table of Content      –          –          –          –          –            –           –               –           vi

Lists of Tables         –        –        –     –     –           –          –          –          –        –           vii

Abstract                                              –          –            –             –        –         –             viii                                        

CHAPTER ONE – INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study                –           –           –           –           1

Statement of the Problem  –           –           –           –           –           6

Purpose of the Study        –           –           –           –           –           7

Research Questions         –           –           –           –           –           8

Significance of the Study          –           –           –           –           8

Scope of the Study            –                       –           –           –           9

CHAPTER TWO     –           LITERATURE REVIEW

Theoretical/ Conceptual framework             –           –           –           –           10

Concept of web-based information resources in university libraries        10

Types of Web-based Information Resources  –           –           –           15

Problems associated with Web-based Information Resources Utilization 32

Strategies for Effective Utilization of Web-based Information Resources in University Libraries   –           –           –           –     –           –           –           –     35

Theories of communication related to this work  –           –           –           37

Review of Related Empirical Studies      –           –           –           –           42

Summary of Literature Review                –           –           –           –           50

CHAPTER THREE             –           RESEARCH METHODOLOGY.

Research Design                          –           –           –           –           51

Area of the Study               –           –           –           –           –           –           51

Population of the Study                  –           –           –           –           –           51

Sample and Sampling Techniques              –           –          –           –           52

Instrument of Data Collection          –           –           –           –           –           53

Validation of the Instrument      –           –           –           –           –           53

Reliability of the Instrument  –              –             –           –           54

Procedure of Data Collection                   –           –           –           –           –           54

Method of Data Analysis             –           –           –           –           –           56

CHAPTER FOUR                –           PRESENTATION OF DATA

Result of Data Presentation –     –           –           –           –           –           57

Availability of Web-based Information Resources   to Researchers

at BSU, FUM and University Mkar       –           –           –           –           –           59

Extent to which researchers utilize web-based information resources to research-    –         –           –           –           –     –           –           –           –        63

Availability of Web-based Information Resources according to Institutions     –           –           –           –     –           –           –           –     –           63

Purpose to which Researchers Apply Web-based Information  –      63

Attitude of Researchers Towards Web-based Information Resources 67

Problem Associated with the Use of Web-based Information Resources  And Service by Researchers –         –           –           –           –           69

Strategies for Enhancement of the Use of Web-based Information Resources and Services by Respondents –                  –           –           –           –           –           70

Summary of Major Findings          –           –           –           –           –           71

CHAPTER FIVE     –           DISCUSSION, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Discussion of the Findings             –           –           –           73

Implications of Findings           –           –           –           –           –           –           79

Recommendations                   –           –           –           –           –           –           80

Limitations         –           –           –           –           –           –           –           82

Suggestion for Further Research        –           –           –           –           –           83

Conclusion      –      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           83

REFFERENCES             –           –           –           –           –           –           85

APPENDICES

Appendix A    –   –           –           –           –           –           –           –           90

Appendix B    –              –           –           –           –           –           –           91

Appendix C    –      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           98

Appendix D    –  –           –           –           –           –           –           –           100

Appendix E     –     –           –           –           –           –           –           –           101

Appendix F     –   –           –           –           –           –           –           –           102

Appendix G    –               –           –           –           –           –           –           103

Appendix H    –              –           –           –           –           –           –           104

Appendix I      –                 –           –           –           –           –           –           105

Appendix J      –

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1: Distribution of sample by category and institution before questionnaire administration-     –           –           –           –           –           –           -53

Table 2: Availability of web-based information resources available for University researchers at Benue state University, University of Agriculture Makurdi and Mkar University Mkar –               –           –           –           –           -58

Table 3: Availability of web-based information resources available for University researchers according to institution and category of researchers-   –           –           –      –           –           –           –           –           –           -62

Table 4:  Purposed to which researchers apply web-based information resources-    –        –           –           –           –     –           –           –           –         -63

Table 5:  Purposed to which researchers apply web-based information resources according to category of researchers-  –           –           –           -66

Table 6: Extent to which researchers apply/utilize web-based information resources to research work –     –          –           –           -68

Table 7: Attitude of researchers towards web-based information resources and services –   –           –           –           –     –           –           –           –     -70

Table 8: Problems associated with the use of web-based information resources and services by resources-     –           –           –           71

Table 9: Strategies for the enhancement of the use of web-based information resources and services by respondents- – – 73

ABSTRACT

The study is on availability and utilization of web-based information resources for   researchers  in universities in Benue state. The descriptive survey technique was used

While a four part research questionnaire made up of nine items was designed to guide the study. An availability and utilization of web-based information resources for researchers in universities in Benue state questionnaire AUWBIRRUQ was developed and validated through expert opinion. An  observation  checklist and interview guide was also formulated to help the researcher dig deeper into the research. Mean and standard deviations were used to analyze data while responses from interview and observation were qualitatively analyzed. The findings of the study were;18 specific web-based information resources were reported as being available to the university researchers in Benue state. The three most important purposes for which   researchers  apply web- based information resources, were term papers, assignments and examinations. Postgraduate students reported greater availability of the resources compared to  academic  staff  and  the other specified group of researchers. The respondents generally  showed  positive  attitude towards use of web-based information resources. Prominent among problems militating against researchers  use  of the resources in the universities were lack of skills, irregular power supply, crowded and uncomfortable environment, and slow server or research equipments. The implications of the findings of the study for university libraries, librarians and other ICT providers, library users and the government were discussed as follows; Researchers utilization of web-based information resources significantly for research and academic work implies that, university libraries that provide such resources effectively will help to promote academic scholarship and research. Secondly, it implies that unless universities include ICT training in their curricula for research students and staff, there will be an under utilization of the available web-based information resources which will lead to a downward slide in quality of academic and research. Thirdly, universities need the support of the government through policy implementation and provision of infrastructures that support the use of web-based facilities. Fourthly, researchers showed significant positive attitude towards the use of web-based information resources and services which is an avenue for university libraries to tap for the training of researcher to attain optimal utilization of the services. The recommendations based on the findings were cost of printing and downloading should be reduced, creation of websites for faculties and departments, more ICT education to library staff and library users, as well as regular servicing of web-based equipment and provision of alternative source of  power.   

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Universities are the foremost tertiary institution in Nigeria, with responsibility for equipping people with knowledge and skills to undertake specific tasks and employment functions which are necessary for the transformation of societies (Osagie, 2009). The functions of a university in Nigeria are usually stated to include teaching, certification, research, production of texts, storage and retrieval of knowledge, community service and enlightened services (Ifidon,1999).Speaking further on the roles of universities in Nigeria, Nwagwu (2000) states that “Nations today depend increasingly on knowledge, ideas, skills which are produced in universities. As a nation’s knowledge industry, universities increase the productive capacity of the  labour force. This is to say that the developmental status of a country depends  largely  on the universities’ input and output which brings us to a discussion on research.  Research is a systematic observation of events or reality in order to determine the validity of an idea. Meredith (2010) stipulates that research is the systematic and objective analysis, and the recording of controlled observations that may lead to the development of generalizations, theories and principles resulting in prediction and ultimate control of many events that may be consequences or causes of specific activities. According to the above author, research seeks to establish a fact or a reality, explain, control or prevent, offer solutions and also predict the future of specific activities. Therefore research can be understood to be a general term which covers all kinds of studies designed to find responses to worthwhile questions by means of a systematic and scientific approach (Alzheimer, 2009).   Ivowi (1999) listed three uses of research: research leads to further studies and knowledge, serves as a powerful tool for solving problems through better understanding of a giving situation, and normally leads to development and then actual production of goods and services for societal improvement. Research, generally, is considered to be a formal, systematic and intensive process of applying the scientific method of data collection and analysis (Whyte in Afolabi, 1997).     Research is one of the tripartite missions and functions for which universities are established, (research, teaching and learning). Therefore, the need for research in a university cannot be over emphasized.

            Researchers in the universities are lecturers, undergraduates and post graduate students. Lecturers in the universities continually engage in research activities in their various areas of specialization. This is part of the academic exercise they have to offer universities for their ultimate development. It also forms   part of the necessary requirement for their promotion. Undergraduate students also embark on research, which is referred to as project report and is supervised and submitted to the department of the researcher in partial fulfillment of the first degree under study. The same applies to post graduate students pursuing higher degrees of Masters or Doctors of Philosophy.

           Successful research depends largely on human and material resource. One needs information to carry out research; therefore, information is a key resource for the academic researcher. Laloo (2002) provided some properties of information; according to him, information is not consumed in its self, it can be shared by many and can even be used simultaneously without any loss to anyone. It is the most democratic resource in that it can be consumed by the rich and the poor alike, depending on their intake capacity. Information is dynamic, ever growing and continuing, and no final word is said or will ever be said on any aspect of it (Ozioko, 2007).

          Because of the diverse and infinite nature of information, university researchers need different information resources to carry out their research activities effectively. This is why the university libraries offer different services and resources. In other to obtain useful information for a research, a researcher must first of all identify what kind of information he needs. This is because different kinds of information are found in different kinds of resources. The kind of information a researcher needs will determine which resource is most appropriate.

Information resources in the library comprise all forms of materials that can be used to disseminate information to information seekers that come to the library. These resources include book and non-book materials. That is, they come in print and non-print forms. The book forms include text books, encyclopedia, journals, magazines, pamphlets, gazetteers, newspapers, dictionaries, e.t.c. while the non-book forms include audio-visual and archival materials, internet services, data and web-based, virtual libraries, and e-libraries. Among these, web-based information resources have gained more prominence in recent years.

World Wide Web is defined by Soorayanaragana and Mahesh (2000) as client server based, distributed hypertext, and multimedia information systems on the internet. According to Paynter and Pearson (2007), a web based information system is an application that not only disseminates information but also proactively interacts with the users to aid them in their task of information acquisition and dissemination. 

           To infer from Gbaje (2007), web-based services are those services which librarians provide using websites as a means to facilitate access to specific internet and other digital resources. Alternatively, a web could be seen as a door way that can be customized by individual users to automatically filter information from the web, while  Web portals can be seen as “a customized learning and transactional web environment designed purposefully to enable users to personalized the content and look-of the website for his/her own individual preference”. Additionally, it can be defined as a collection of inter-linked computer networks.

          Web-based resources can be used for diverse reasons including communication and sharing of information and other things quickly and inexpensively with millions of people from diverse cultures around the world via electronic mail, internet telephone, keyboard chart and video conferencing. There are also a growing number of interactive, multimedia games, educational tools, databases, libraries, news groups, around the world to gather information on any topic; for work or recreation. The information could be in form of text, pictures, or even video materials. Email files can also be stored on the web-based server.

            A web-based information system can be defined as an application that not only disseminates information but also proactively interacts with the users to aid them in their quest of information acquisition and dissemination (Painter and Pearson, 2009). In a WWW-based information system, therefore, information is presented to the user in a bi-directional manner. This definition has generalized everything about www­­-based information resources but, it is pertinent to point out that there are some commonalities between such resources. WWW-based resources irrespective of type must adopt extension to the basic HTML, using Java Lava script or UB script to provide additional functionality to the basic hypertext link                                                                                   

Web-based information resources, according to McAfee (2006), are an application that facilitates interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design and collaboration between the disseminator and the recipient of the information. The World Wide Web is understood not only as a screen full graphic but as a transport mechanism through which inter-activity happens. It can appear on a computer screen, on television set, cell-phone or handheld game machine. As Minigashi-Maganja, (2007) puts it, the web has become a universal standard-based integrated platform.                                                                    

The universities under study are Benue State University, Makurdi; Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi; and University of Mkar, Mkar. Benue State University was established in the 1992/1993 academic session by the then civilian governor Rev. Moses Orshio Adasu. .Owned exclusively by the Benue State government, it is a conventional university offering courses in both Sciences and the Humanities/Arts. The University offers programmes in Pure and Applied Sciences, Medicine, Arts, Law, with the prospect to expand into other fields. The motto of the university is scientia liberatio populorum meaning, knowledge for the liberation of the people.

          Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi; is located in the Benue State capital Makurdi.  University of Agriculture, Makurdi occupies an arable land area of 8,048 hectares, thus making it the largest holder of agriculture land mass amongst institutions of its kind. By federal operational policy, the UAM mandate covers over 60% of Nigeria with 19 states of the federation and the federal capital territory as its catchment area. The UAM was established in 1988 with the mission of improving scientific transformation of traditional agriculture and to accelerate the drive towards national food self-sufficiency. This is embedded in the philosophy that the average Nigerian farmer should have access to fruits of scientific agriculture.

 The University of Mkar was licensed by the Federal Government of Nigeria in June,2005 to operate as a private Christian university in Nigeria.  It however took- off on 4th October 2005. The university is owned by the NKST church, an offshoot of the Dutch Reformed church/Sudan United Mission of South Africa and North America respectively. The vision of the university is to be a world class university that is committed to the advancement of knowledge through quality teaching, research and holistic education that puts God at the center of all learning. The mission is that through learning the university can develop change agents in the academy, church and society, using  knowledge based on God`s word for service. The university aims to develop a total person through education that is qualitative, comprehensive and relevant, and that propels the individual to be self-reliant. University of Mkar operates a collegiate system comprising of three colleges; the College of Food Science Technology, College of Natural and Applied Sciences, College of Social and Management Sciences, with various departments.

AVAILABILITY AND UTILIZATION OF WEB-BASED INFORMATION RESOURCES FOR RESEARCHERS IN UNIVERSITIES IN BENUE STATE