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Availability and Utilization of Web-based Information Resources for Researchers in Universities in Benue State

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Availability and Utilization of Web-based Information Resources for Researchers in Universities in Benue State.

ABSTRACT  

The study is on the 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. 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 were also formulated to help the researcher dig deeper into the research.

Mean and standard deviations were used to analyze data while responses from interviews 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 a positive attitude towards the 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 equipment. 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 underutilization of the available web-based information resources which will lead to a downward slide in the quality of academics 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 a 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 researchers to attain optimal utilization of the services.

INTRODUCTION  

Universities are the foremost tertiary institution in Nigeria, with the responsibility for equipping people with knowledge and skills to undertake specific tasks and employment functions that 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 labor 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 the 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, the research seeks to establish a fact or 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 that 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 a better understanding of a given situation, and normally leads to development and then actual production of goods and 2 services for societal improvement.

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CSN Team.

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