Academic Information Needs Of Student In Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana

Project and Seminar Material for Library and Information Science

Academic Information Needs Of Student In Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana


Abstract


The use and access of information resources is rapidly shifting due to technology advancement and changing information needs of students and inadequate information resource tools. The purpose of the study was to assess the academic information needs of students in Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, Ebonyi state. The study was based on both quantitative and qualitative research methodology. The study was conducted at the University of Nairobi- main campus. The research was informed by Wilson (1999) Model of Information Seeking Behavior. The study employed stratified random sampling technique to sample. The target population was 1,830 students and the sample size was 328 students. Data collected was analyzed using tables, graphs, pie charts. The findings indicated 76% of the respondent’s information seeking behaviour anchored on finding information that would primarily allow them to pass their examinations. The findings also revealed that 60% of the students sought information using various retrieval tools such as OPAC to be of main importance in their diverse needs for accessing information. Furthermore, inadequate e-resources, poor quality service delivery, inadequate IT infrastructure, inadequate user training, and slow internet connection were identified as major challenges. The recommended strategies for improvement were that, libraries should increase the allocation of internet bandwidth, improve on the service delivery and offer frequent information literacy to the students. The study will be useful in guiding tertiary institutions and other academic libraries in providing access to information.


Table of Content


Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background to the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objectives of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Question
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisation of the Study

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Information Seeking Behaviour of Students
  • 2.3 Information Needs of Students
  • 2.4 Academic Research and Learning in Modern Academic Library
  • 2.5 Information Resources Preferred By Students
  • 2.5.1 Electronic Information Resources
  • 2.6 Challenges of Accessing Information
  • 2.7 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.7.1 Wilson’S (199) Model of Information Behaviour

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population
  • 3.3 Sample and Sampling Technique
  • 3.4 Instrument for Data Collection
  • 3.5 Validity of the Instrument
  • 3.6 Reliability of the Instrument
  • 3.7 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.8 Data Analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Results and Discussion

  • 4.1 Result
  • 4.2 Discussion

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • Appendix

Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Higher academic institutions have libraries as their central educational systems, assisting in the improvement of learning and dissemination of knowledge to meet the information needs of their students. This information resources are required for student’s academic enhancement. Students need information materials to produce quality research work (Kehinde et al., 2016). Information needs arise when an information user recognizes some information deficiency and desires to acquire that information (Kakai, Miriam et al. 2014). Frequent analyses of the information needs of the postgraduate students is needed for planning and acquiring what’s relevant for student’s scholarly study and knowing how easy it is for them to utilize the available information resources. Identifying methods for searching for information in the current era of information explosion is very vital in the general handling of information.

An important component for students in any learning institution is how they seek knowledge in their learning process. The objective of any institution of higher learning is to satisfy its students with adequate information that is relevant, timely and easily accessible no matter the format (Donald 2012). However, some postgraduate students may have difficulties in finding relevant electronic resource that they need. In addition, in his study on information seeking, Kakai, Miriam et al. (2004) stated that several postgraduate students faced challenges while seeking academic resources required in electronic format. According to Ikoja-Odongo (2004), information seeking behaviour is the manner at which people go about looking for relevant information.

Fasola & Olabode (2013) also defined information seeking as a basic pursuit involved by all information seekers and explained through a certain manner. In our day to day activities we access and use various information systems and services not limited to either communications, such as e-mail, social networking, such as Facebook, to a bigger extent of web-based database systems and other information services (Goker & Davis 2009).

Information seeking behaviour is revealed in various major ways, including reading printed resources to research and experimentation (Catalano (2013). Those people who seek information make active and deliberate efforts to look for current information from the library resources, including, electronic sources. It’s imperative to point out that the rise of information technology especially in the academic environment has radically influenced the way libraries and information services are providing their services and has brought about significant changes in the ways in which information is consumed.

Information is an important and key resource for every institution of higher learning. Libraries are organized knowledge hubs where users can access diverse information sources. Gunasekera (2010) indicated that libraries can build their collections and facilities to meet user’s satisfaction. The learning process of researchers is hugely dependant on the richness of the library collection, development of enabling library technologies and the quality of the information service delivery in a library environment.

Any negative outcome to information search is also defined by Ogba (2012) as an impeding and limited way which affects a person looking for information or requires to find more specific information. All these can be categorized as barriers to access information resources and inability to search and use information resources given that academic library users need information for education, training and research to address their information needs.

Fasola and Olabode (2013) and Onuaho and Awoniyi (2011) reveal the barriers that face students in universities and academic institutions when seeking and searching information resources in the library collections are limited time, lack of internet facilities and connections, inadequate and irrelevant library materials. The library professions have been criticised for not being supportive while offering services, with a lack of proper attitude to their patrons, and lacking training and knowledge of using e-resources. Okite-Amughoro, Makgahlela and Bopape (2014) also states that postgraduate students are conversant of the library resources contained in the library in both print and electronic, but have challenges in accessing them due to poor internet connection in campus, lack of information literacy to search information and limited space in the library.

The tasks of the academic Library System towards the accomplishment of the functions and objectives enlisted to carry out basic functions of acquiring, organizing and disseminating information in support of the academic mission. More precisely it is designed to deliver reading, reference, research materials and other library services to the students, academic staff, non- academic staff and to a limited number of the external community authorized to access the facility

The academic Library System is composed of administration, central services such as acquisitions, cataloguing coordinating unit, the union catalogues, the bindery and the archives. The academic Library system usually has stock of volumes, inclusive of books, periodicals and other non-print materials. The stock could be firther divided into a general lending materials and specialized research collections to support scholarly work. Strategic objectives of the academic Library;

  1. To provide access to information for teaching, learning, research and consultancy.
  2. To enhance Library facilities and environment for improved information delivery.
  3. To enhance staff capacity and innovativeness.
  4. To establish and promote collaborations and partnerships for resource-sharing.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Students from diverse disciplines have got different approaches of information seeking for both print and electronic information resources. Globally, students in search for information are vulnerable to challenges such as existing information gaps in their pursuit of their scholarly works. (Kalantari 2017). This situation is not any different for students in Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, Ebonyi state. The researcher observed that students seem to suffer from inability to utilize the core retrieval tools used to retrieve information, lack adequate training on IT user skills such as use of web based resources available at the library and inadequate space especially with the growing students’ population (Sakaja 2011).

This view compares favourably with Sakaja, (2011) who observed that access to electronic resources by students at the extra mural department of the University has been hindered by unreliable internet connectivity within the library facility and undeveloped technological infrastructure. According to Okite et al, (2014) students at Delta State university, Nigeria are well informed of the library resources, especially electronic resources, but that they are greatly impeded by the lack of skills, inadequate space in the library facility, poor internet connection on campus and unreliable power supply when accessing these information resources.

According to (Wasike (2012); Otike (2000); and Adika, (2003) students’ information needs and seeking behaviour may be associated with certain challenges that students have in optimally utilizing academic library resources. Currently, no study has been carried out on assessment of information needs and seeking behaviour specifically targeting students at the polytechnic, It’s on this premise that this study was carried out specifically aimed at assessing the academic information needs of students in Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, Ebonyi state.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to assess the academic information needs of students in Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, Ebonyi state. Specifically, the objectives of the study include to;

  1. Examine the information needs of students at Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana
  2. Examine the information seeking behaviour of the students at Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana
  3. Establish the types of information resources and services used by students at Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana
  4. Explore the major challenges faced by students while accessing information resources at Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana

1.4 Research Question

The following research questions are formulated to guide this research:

  1. What are the information needs of students at Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana?
  2. What is the information seeking behaviour of the students at Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana?
  3. What are the types of information resources and services used by students at Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana?
  4. What are the major challenges faced by students while accessing information resources at Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

  • HO1 There is no significant relationship between information needs and information seeking behaviour of the students at Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana
  • HA1 There is a significant relationship between information needs and information seeking behaviour of the students at Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana

1.6 Significance of the Study

The findings of this study were two fold; to help the students to have a positive attitude while seeking and using information resources at Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana and also help the policy makers of Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana to put in place the right mechanism of addressing students’ challenges in terms of accessing information resources. The expectations are that students of Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana will improve their skills of accessing information sources efficiently. The goal of this study was to help improve students’ experience in accessing library resources. To academics and practitioners, it may build the body of knowledge on top of the existing and may enhance translation of theory to practice.


1.7 Scope of Study

Scope of this research study was basically defined as the extent of the content to be revised by the research in order to establish more logical conclusions (Walliman 2011). This research project was carried out at Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, Ebonyi state with the purpose of assessing the academic information needs of students. This study is grounded on Wilson’s (1999) nested model of information behaviour which essentially embraces the generation, acquisition, use and communication of the information. The target population that was used for this study was confined to the students.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

These are the challenges that the researcher encountered during data collection. The anticipated challenges of data collection were: Due to the nature of the quantitative and qualitative research emphasized here the study was not exempted to limitations in the homogeneity of the sample population and representation. The study was only limited to Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, Ebonyi state and students in Business Administration and Information Sciences. Therefore, this cannot be extrapolate representational to additional academic institutions. Again there was unwillingness of respondents to fill the questionnaires. Some of the copies questionnaires were also reported missing and it was severally replaced and this affected the researcher negatively finance wise.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Information Needs:

The term information need is often understood as an individual or group’s desire to locate and obtain information to satisfy a conscious or unconscious need. Rarely mentioned in general literature about needs, it is a common term in information science. According to Hjørland (1997) it is closely related to the concept of relevance: If something is relevant for a person in relation to a given task, we might say that the person needs the information for that task.

Information Seeking Behaviour:

Is “the purposive seeking for information as a sequence of a need to satisfy some goal” which could be triggered and impacted by the risk level, task complexity, and time pressure. Information behavior is a field of information science research that seeks to understand the way people search for and use information in various contexts. It can include information seeking and information retrieval, but it also aims to understand why people seek information and how they use it.

Academic Library:

Is a library that is attached to a higher education institution and serves two complementary purposes: to support the curriculum, and to support the research of the university faculty and students. Modern academic libraries generally also provide access to electronic resources.

Student:

A person who is studying at a university or other place of higher education such as a polytechnic.

Polytechnic:

An institution of higher education offering courses at degree level or below, especially in vocational subjects.


1.10 Organisation of the Study

This study is organized into five chapters. Chapter one included the background of the study, research problem, research objectives and questions as well as limitation of the study. Chapter two contains the literature review. Chapter three includes the methodology and study area. Chapter Four contains the results and discussion of key findings of the study. Chapter Five finally looks at the summary, conclusions, and recommendations based on the findings.


Chapter Five


5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

The focus of this study was to assess the academic information needs of students in Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, Ebonyi state. The study’s findings are summarized as follows:

Information Needs of Students

Purpose of access by the students was predominantly for academic needs represented by 80% while the remaining 20% responses indicated personal needs. The findings indicate that the majority of the respondents’ major information needs’ are for academic purpose and this results are similar with the study by Owalabi, Jimoh & Okpeh (2010) who also reported similar results in their research work. The study identified that there was need to guide students and advise them on how they could better access the library from various devices such as the IPad, mobile phone and also through their laptops when not within the institution library. This requires more focus on off-campus access of library information resources and an increase in electronic library information resources. From the analysis this shows that the library need to conduct library orientation and information literacy for new students every new semester and continuous information literacy sensitization on the current and new developments in print and electronic information resources. Additionally, library staff need to consider information literacy as work objective so that it can be considered as a serious objective that is measurable. Another aspect that might attract to use the library is the interior design of the library. For instance the library furniture should be constantly reviewed to ensure that torn and broken furniture are replaced with new furniture, strong internet bandwidth that is accessible 24 hours and functional electronic sockets for charging their laptops and other electronic gadgets.
Information Seeking Behaviour of Students

The study findings indicated that majority of the respondent’s information seeking behaviour anchored on finding information that would primarily allow them to pass their examinations. This was supported by the fact that 76 % use information for exam purposes, while 20% need to understand the concept and 4% for leisure, this are reading novels and surfing the internet. The analysis reveal the need to promote electronic information materials available for the library clients. The library has variety of resources especially for the e-resources which are rarely utilized or known to students. During the library orientation library staff should ensure that students have access accounts to the e-resources and other resources either within the library or externally. This should be a key activity for the purposes of ensuring that students are frequently accessing electronic information resources. For this to work library staff need to frequently work closely with the lecturers so that they can have sensitization sessions for lecturers who will then be expected to guide their students on accessing electronic information resources.
Information Resources Used

This study established that majority of responses given found information retrieval tools search as OPAC to be of major importance in the quest for accessing information. It was found necessary to make use of the ICT infrastructure to avail information resources to the users, given that a high percentage of users preferred to use ICT methods in searching for information. Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, Ebonyi state can adopt more training and awareness program on how to use digital libraries in accordance with the existing access policies in cases where electronic resources should be utilized.

Challenges encountered by students while accessing information resources in the Polytechnic including possible solutions. From the figure 4.8, 70% of the respondents reported inadequate e-resources as a key challenge, 60% indicated poor quality of service delivery, 50% mentioned inadequate necessary IT infrastructure, while 40% pointed out inadequate user training and slow internet connectivity and 30% indicated poor collection development as a major challenge they encountered. The analysis from the survey which should be carried out after every semester should guide the library staff on identifying the gaps that students experience and thereby map the way forward on various ways of mitigating on the challenges. One serious concern is how library staff should guide students to use e-resources as opposed to Google in accessing information. Google has become a major challenge to librarians since most students view it as a much faster avenue of accessing electronic information which has led to a rise in plagiarism. Librarians should be in a position to outlay the advantages of e-resources as compared to Google. This should then drive postgraduate’s students to redirect their search of information to authoritative electronic databases that have been recommended by the library staff and the library management in general.


5.2 Conclusion

This study made the following conclusions:

  1. The study concluded that Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana students are not aware of the various ways they could access off-campus information resources and therefore the management must create awareness among the students.
  2. The library staff were not prompt in service delivery to the clients and that internet connectivity was slow. Library staff should focus on providing efficient and effective services to library clients and in particular students and in this they will be able to market the library and thereby attract more students to using the available library resources.

5.3 Recommendation

Based on the findings of this study, the following are recommended;

  1. The library management must work towards improving the quality of the service delivery to motivate students to optimally use the information resources. New strategies must be employed to improve user experience within the library environment and incorporate value additional services. The academic library must design innovative solutions and create more opportunities to ensure that the library provides a vibrant social infrastructure that satisfactorily quenches the thirst of every information seeker accessing the facility. Looking towards the future, if libraries are to succeed, they will have to increase investment in value addition services that extend beyond traditional user assumptions of just providing access to books.
  2. The management should enhance technology adaptation in the library to ensure full automation of the library functions which will go a long way in value addition and quality service delivery. The dynamic contexts like social, political, economic, and cultural in which libraries function in this era. The way a library’s collection is stored and made accessible shapes the intellectual infrastructure of the institution hence the technological investment plays a very significant role in a library ecosystem. The library management should heavily invest in relevant technologies like cutting edge integrated library system to ensure quality service delivery to the information seekers.
  3. The internet speed should be increased to facilitate quick, easy and convenient access to electronic resources subscribed by the library for instance electronic scholarly journals and online resources. Internet connectivity provided should be reliable and stable to promote access to OPAC remotely. Undoubtedly, reliable and fast internet connection is key to access of electronic information materials provided to library users.
  4. This calls for a complete review of the current university acquisition policy to ensure quality collection development. The primary purpose of a collection development policy is to create a collection of library information resources that supports and reflects the library’s mission. An up-to-date collection development policy will act as a blueprint for the academic library collection guiding the management regarding the selection, acquisition, management, maintenance and preservation of the collection. Library management must consider anticipated demand and community interest to ensure proper development of the library collection.
  5. The library staff should provide mandatory end-user training and educate users on how to optimally make use of the various available resources. In this changing technological environment, library users require specific training hence user education, library orientation, library instruction, bibliographic instruction are some of the necessary training users should undergo. Wilson’s model of information behaviour recognizes information seeking, searching and retrieval as inherent individual activity, which normally gets triggered the moment the information seeker recognizes existence of information need. This places the user of information at the heart of the information seeking process hence building their capacity in regards to searching and retrieval skills in inevitable.

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