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Library Philosophy and Practice 2009

ISSN 1522-0222

Use of Electronic Resources by Postgraduate Students of the Department of Library and Information Science of Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria

Obuh Alex Ozoemelem
Department of Library and Information Science
Delta State University
Abraka, Delta State, Nigeria

 

Introduction

Background to the Study

Information professionals have long sought to comprehend what factors are relevant in encouraging a person to seek out information. More recently, a particular focus of inquiry has been on those factors that play a role in deciding to use the library's electronic resources to seek information as opposed to just surfing the Internet. These inquiries assume an even greater importance in light of the fact that more people are using the Internet to find information they need, information that is unmediated by the library (Kibirge, 2000).

Informed library users know that libraries have resources that are more comprehensive and scholarly than most Web sites provide. Libraries provide access to scholarly literature that, as a rule, is not freely available on the Web. Often, it is in college that users become aware of libraries' resources, usually while having to write research papers. Assuming that on average most students face the same number and type of papers and assignments during their college career, it is critical to understand what makes one student use the library's electronic resources while another will not think of the library as a place to find specialized resources for their papers.

One obstacle to the use of a library's resources, and in particular its electronic resources, is that they are not seen as being straightforward. In contrast to an Internet search engine, where a single keyword search will usually result in thousands of hits, no matter what the topic, in the library, students have to choose a particular database and be more selective in the search words they use. Moreover, database subjects often overlap, with differences in dates, journal and subjects covered, and whether the material is full-text or not. In addition, the library may have a print subscription to a certain title that is not full-text electronically, or the title may be accessible full-text through another database than the one originally searched. Therefore, not only do students have to find the relevant citations, but they also have to know how to locate the article after that. This means juggling many screens, many technologies, multi-tasking electronic jobs, and of course, knowing where to look for all this necessary information. Lastly, there is the additional confusion that more and more library databases use Web-based technologies. Because the interface is seamless there does not seem to be a visible, on the screen, difference between Web-based library resources and general Web-based resources. All of the above also assumes the student is proficient in the use of computers. It is quite clear that searching for information has become "inexorably linked to computer technology." (Jacobson, 1991).

Understanding how students navigate this maze of resources is important in helping us to develop and assess pedagogy designed to instruct our students in library usage. Students are more and more Web-savvy (Kibirge, 2000), many of them having been brought up around computers and the Internet. However, they matriculate with a diversity of computer and Web-searching skills and experience. Students may not have been exposed to library resources, or not be aware of which resources a library might have, or how to make use of them. It is therefore of interest to us to try and understand what characteristics will make one student branch out and explore library resources, while another one might not.

A study of undergraduates showed that they looked for the fastest way that would lead to satisfactory results when doing research, going for electronic information sources first (Valentine, 1993). These students felt uncomfortable, however, asking for help in using the library and spent frustrating hours trying to find information. Currently, with the explosion of full-text resources, it would seem even easier for the student to find a full-text database and select the articles, regardless of whether they would have been the most appropriate for their research. Not all students take this route, however.

Statement of the Problem

Supporting research and learning activities becomes a major mission for academic libraries. In recent years, academic libraries face pressures like diminished budgets, increased patron demands, and rising costs for book purchases and periodical subscriptions (Ke & Chang, 1999). The thriving growth of electronic publications is reshaping the nature of collections and the mode of delivering and accessing information in libraries. The traditional print resources nowadays face challenges from their electronic counterparts in faster and timely delivery of information as well as in improved access (Bandyopadhyay and Chu, 1999). Among various resources for learning, staff and students throughout much of the world can retrieve seemingly endless volumes of information from all over the globe in a short span of time. It appears that the rate of production of electronic materials has exceeded that of print-based publications (Dalgeish & Hall, 2000). In this study we will examine some factors that correlate with students' usage of electronic resources. The following research questions were asked to guide the study:

  1. What is the level of ICT skill of postgraduate students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka?
  2. How does a postgraduate student of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka access electronic resources?
  3. In what medium are electronic resources used by postgraduate students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka?
  4. What is the level of electronic resource experience of postgraduate students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka?
  5. What is the Level of electronic resource Usage by postgraduate students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka?
  6. Does gender affect the use of electronic resources by postgraduate students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka?
  7. What are the problems encountered by postgraduate students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University, Abraka?

Significance of the Study

The value of the study relates to the understanding of the usage of electronic resources by post graduate students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka. This study will amongst others, attempt to identify which of the variables presented play a significant role in the students' use of electronic resources. It will also x-ray the problems associated with the use of electronic resources and as such the result of the findings of this study will contribute to the body of knowledge on student's use of electronic resources. And will also be beneficial to academics, researchers, students and professional interested in this area of study. Generally, if one can say that the use of electronic resources for sourcing information by students of higher institution is a must then this study is imperative.

Scope of the Study

The study focuses on the use of electronic resources by post graduate students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka. From the universities, polytechnics, and other higher institutions found in the states only Delta State University, Abraka, have a Library School. Consequently, this study will be carried out within the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka and the respondents of interest to the study will be postgraduate MSc and PhD students of the Department.

Limitations of the Study

Due to the wide spread this study is restricted to only one out of several Library Schools in Nigeria as a case study. Therefore, the extent to which the findings of this study meet the need of all others is the limitation on this study.

Literature Review

Electronic Information Skills and Experience

In order to utilize the growing range of electronic resources, students must acquire and practice the skills necessary to exploit them. "For students using a variety of on-line databases, it is as though they were parking lot attendants, where every vehicle is not only a different make and model but has a different configuration" (Blandy & Libutti, 1995). As Dutton (1990) suggests, the skills required to maximize the potential of electronic resources are much greater than those required for searching printed sources. These skills include a knowledge of the structure of the database and the instructions which must be input into the computer by the searcher, as well as an understanding of the ways in which the instructions are linked with one another. To this end, Brophy (1993) states users do not often appreciate the skills required to search these sources, stating they are deceptively easy to use. The ability to find and retrieve information effectively is a transferable skill useful for future life as well as enabling the positive and successful use of the electronic resources whilst at university. As Brophy argues, libraries must "reach a position where the acquisition of information skills is acknowledged as one of the key learning objectives for every student entering a university, so that no student leaves without being fully equipped to cope with the information intensive world - the information society - as an end-user" (Brophy, 1993: 55)

There are several ways in which web experience can be defined and conceptualized. In general, web experience can be considered to be an act where users engage in applications that are often centered on web. In addition, web experience also can be defined in two different ways as perceived use and variety of use. ‘‘While perceived usage refers to the amount of time spent interacting with the web and the frequency of use, variety of use refers to the importance of use and the collection of web package/program use.'' (Igabaria, Guimares & Davis, 1995). Essentially, the web would often be a tool for wider and more diverse use. Users are increasingly using the web for information retrieval, communicating etc. via electronic mail or online conferencing. In this study, the web experience refers to the experience of web usage, such as the experience of web/online packages, and the Internet.

Gender Attitudes toward Technologies and Technical Competencies

The gender dynamics relating attitudes about the Internet and actual utilization of the medium have not been adequately studied to date (Busselle, R., J. Reagan, B. Pinkleton, and K. Jackson, 1999.). Nevertheless, research regarding computer use more generally has highlighted the significance of interest and stereotyping about computers, as well as self-perception of ability (self efficacy) in explaining gendered patterns of behaviour vis-à-vis this technology (Campbell, 1990; Levin and Gordon, 1989; Reinen and Plomp, 1997; Shashaani, 1993). Investigations with elementary and high school students as well as adults reveal a significant gulf between male and female interest in computers (Campbell, 1990; Levin and Gordon, 1989; Reinen and Plomp, 1997; Shashaani, 1993). For example, drawing on representative national samples of elementary, lower, and upper secondary school students from 20 countries in 1989 and 10 countries in 1992, Reinen and Plomp, (1997) find that females enjoy using the computer less than do male students. In addition, research has found that men and boys have significantly more positive attitudes toward computers and more stereotyped attitudes regarding who is capable of using them (Levin and Gordon, 1989; Whitley, 1997), while female students' attitudes and attributions toward computers discourage them from using the technology (Campbell, 1990). The inference drawn is that gendered attitudes are central to discrepancies in use. Beyond attitudes, the literature points to another important factor that influences technology use: self-efficacy. Coined and initially elaborated by Bandura (1977), self-efficacy beliefs revolve around ‘‘one's capability to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations'' and includes both anxiety and enactive and vicarious experience regarding task-specific competencies. Computer-related self efficacy has been an important extension of this concept. In a wide variety of research settings, men have been found to exhibit higher self-efficacy scores (Corston and Colman, 1996; Durndell, A., Z. Haag, D. Asenova, and H. Laithwaite. 2000; Miura, 1987; Torkzadeh and Van Dyke, 2002; Whitley, 1997). Women, on the other hand, generally display less confidence and more discomfort (Brosnan, 1998; Dickhauser and Stiensmeier-Pelster, 2002; Schumacher and Morahan-Martin, 2000; Shashaani, 1993).

Recent literature on technology presents a complicated picture of the relationship between gender and Web use. While most scholars agree that the gender gap in Internet use has narrowed significantly in the college age group (Goodson, McCormick, & Evans, 2001; Odell, Korgen, Schumacher, & Delucchi, 2000) as well as the general population (Brenner, 1997; Jackson, Ervin, Gardner, & Schmitt, 2001; Newburger, 1999; Ono & Zovodny, 2003), some gender differences have been found in attitudes toward technology, intensity of Internet use, online applications preferred, and experience in cyberspace. Investigations of college student Web use have proven especially insightful, as research on this group allows for an examination of gender differences within an institution in which men and women generally have equal access to the Internet (Odell et al., 2000). The scholarship on gender and Web use is contradictory at times, demonstrating the dynamic nature of the interaction, as well as the need for continued investigation. In a study of college students' attitudes toward technology, Smith and Necessary (1996) found that males had significantly more positive attitudes toward computers than females did. Jackson et al. (2001) also found that females in general reported less favourable computer attitudes. Other literature, however, contradicts these findings. Several investigations have reported that gender had no significant effect on any of the dimensions of computer attitude studied (Jennings & Onwuegbuzie, 2001; Shaw & Gant, 2002). Zhang, (2002) observed that female college students possess more positive attitudes than their male peers. The inconsistency in these findings might be attributed to differences in methodology, or might reveal how the increasing number of female Internet users is altering women's attitudes regarding computers and the Web. It is noteworthy that the studies are separated by nearly half a decade. Within that time, with greater adoption of technology by women, the differences observed in the earlier studies could disappear in the latter studies. Bimber (2000) argued that the gender gap in the Internet is larger where more intensive Web use is concerned. Women are substantially less likely to be frequent users, equally likely to be infrequent users, and more likely to be intermediate users. In short, females are less intensive Internet users than males. Bimber attributes this finding to a combination of gendered technology embodying male values, content that favours men, sex differences in cognition and/or communication, and socioeconomic differences. Ono and Zovodny (2003) also found women to be less frequent and less intense users of the Internet. Concern about gender inequality has now shifted from access to intensity.

The most pronounced gender difference in Web use is found in the online applications used by males and female. Male college students are more likely than their female counterparts to use the Internet for recreational purposes (e.g., playing games online, visiting adult-only sites, gambling, accessing news groups and discussion forums, staying abreast of news developments, and seeking information for personal use), while females are more likely to use the Internet to talk to family and friends (Goodson, McCormick, & Evans, 2001; Jackson et al., 2001; Morahan-Martin & Schumacher, 1997; Odell, Korgen, Schumacher, & Delucchi , 2000; Scealy, Phillips, & Stevenson, 2002). These findings appear to reinforce the widespread assumption that men prefer to use the Web for information gathering and entertainment and women prefer to use the Internet for communication (Shaw & Gant, 2002).

Methodology

Research Design

The descriptive survey method was adopted for this study because it seeks to explore the Use of Electronic Resources by Postgraduate Students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka , Nigeria . The data collected are the situation of information about the views of postgraduate student of Library School in universities within Delta state.

Population for the Study

The estimated population for this study is 78 respondents drawn from among Masters and PhD students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka. The breakdown of the student population is as illustrated in table 1 below.

Table 1: Showing the Population Breakdown for the Study

Level of Study Population Percentage Population
PhD 13 17%
MSc 65 83%
Total 78 100%
Sample and Sampling Technique

Due to the small number of respondents involved the entire population was used as the sample for the study.

Research Instrument

The questionnaire titled Use of Electronic Resources by Postgraduate Students of Library School Questionnaire (UERPSLSQ) was used as the research instrument for this study. The questionnaire provides data on Use of Electronic Resources by Postgraduate Students of Library School in Delta State, Nigeria. And it is aimed at answering questions on: the level of ICT skill; the level of electronic resource experience and the Level of electronic resource Usage by postgraduate students of Delta State Library School. Moreso to ascertain if gender affects the use of electronic resources and the problems encountered in using electronic resources by postgraduate students of Delta State Library School .

Method of Data Collection

The questionnaire was sent out to the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka. The researcher employed the service of research assistants to administer the questionnaire one-on-one to the students and their response collected immediately. This method was preferred so as to achieve a high response rate.

Method of Data Analysis

Data collected from the questionnaires were analyzed using frequency counts and simple percentage.

Findings and Discussion

A total of 78 questionnaires were distributed to respondents and were successfully retrieved giving a 100% rate of return. The analyses of the distribution were as presented in figure 1 below.

Figure 1: Pie Chart Showing Gender Distributions of the Respondents

From figure 1 above a majority of 47 (60%) respondents were females. This is in agreement with Adomi (2000) that there are more females than males in Library Schools in Nigeria .

Figure 2: Pie Chart Showing Distributions of the Respondents

From figure 2 above a majority of 65 (83%) respondents were Masters Degree students.

Figure 3: Pie Chart Showing Age Distribution of the Respondents

Figure 3 above shows that most of the respondents were between 40 years and above.

Research Findings

Research Question 1: What is the level of ICT skill of postgraduate students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka?

The results of the analysis is presented in table 2

Table 2: Showing Level of ICT skills of postgraduate students of Delta State Library School ?

S/N Items Options Frequency Percentage
1. I am skilled in the use of computer. Agree 45 57.69%
   Disagree 33 42.31%
2. I am skilled in the knowledge of database structures Agree 10 12.82%
  Disagreed 68 87.18%
3. I am skilled in working in an interactive platforms e.g. video conferencing, BBS, LISTSERV, Chat room etc. Agree 18 23.08%
  Disagreed 60 76.92%
4 I am skilled in formulating search queries Agree 32 41.03%
  Disagreed 46 58.97%
5 I am skilled in online navigation techniques Agree 49 62.82%
  Disagreed 29 37.18%
6 I am skilled in the use of electronic library tools e.g. CDROM, OPAC, Subject Gateways etc. Agree 25 32.05%
  Disagreed 53 67.95%
7 I am skilled in online acquisition procedures/techniques Agree 15 19.23%
  Disagreed 63 80.77%
8 I am skilled in working in a network environment Agree 18 23.08%
  Disagreed 60 76.92%
9 I am skilled in using internet telephony Agree 5 6.41%
  Disagreed 73 93.59%
10 I am skilled with computer system/application software e.g. MS Windows XP, Linux, MS Office, etc. Agree 58 74.36%
  Disagreed 20 25.64%
11 I am conversant with electronic formats e.g. PDF, JPEG, MPEG etc. Agree 25 32.05%
  Disagreed 53 67.95%

From table 2, it was observed that there is a low level of skillfulness in the use of ICT among respondents. Dutton (1990) suggested that the skills required to maximize the potential of electronic resources are much greater than those required for searching printed sources. These skills include a knowledge of the structure of the database and the instructions which must be input into the computer by the searcher, as well as an understanding of the ways in which the instructions are linked with one another. To this end, Brophy (1993) posited that students do not often appreciate the skills required to search electronic sources, stating that they are deceptively easy to use. Brophy argues that, it has reached a situation were the acquisition of information skills is acknowledged as one of the key learning objectives for every student entering a university, so that no student leaves without being fully equipped to cope with the information intensive world as an end-user (Brophy, 1993: 55).

Research Question 2: How does a postgraduate student of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka access electronic resources?

The results of the analysis are presented in figure 4.

Figure 4: Showing Access of Electronic Resources by Postgraduate Students of Delta State Library School

Figure 4 above indicates that majority of the respondent access electronic resources from the cybercafé . This corroborates Obuh, (2007) that cybercafés are the most readily available access to the electronic resources by users.

Research Question 3: In what medium are electronic resources used by postgraduate students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka?

The results of the analysis are presented in figure 5.

Figure 5: Showing Analysis of Medium of Electronic Resources Used by Postgraduate Students of Delta State Library School

Table 2: Showing Level of ICT skills of postgraduate students of Delta State Library School ?

S/N Items Options Frequency Percentage
1. I am skilled in the use of computer. Agree 45 57.69%
  Disagreed 33 42.31%
2. I am skilled in the knowledge of database structures Agree 10 12.82%
  Disagreed 68 87.18%
3. I am skilled in working in an interactive platforms e.g. video conferencing, BBS, LISTSERV, Chat room etc. Agree 18 23.08%
  Disagreed 60 76.92%
4 I am skilled in formulating search queries Agree 32 41.03%
  Disagreed 46 58.97%
5 I am skilled in online navigation techniques Agree 49 62.82%
  Disagreed 29 37.18%
6 I am skilled in the use of electronic library tools e.g. CDROM, OPAC, Subject Gateways etc. Agree 25 32.05%
  Disagreed 53 67.95%
7 I am skilled in online acquisition procedures/techniques Agree 15 19.23%
  Disagreed 63 80.77%
8 I am skilled in working in a network environment Agree 18 23.08%
  Disagreed 60 76.92%
9 I am skilled in using internet telephony Agree 5 6.41%
  Disagreed 73 93.59%
10 I am skilled with computer system/application software e.g. MS Windows XP, Linux, MS Office, etc. Agree 58 74.36%
  Disagreed 20 25.64%
11 I am conversant with electronic formats e.g. PDF, JPEG, MPEG etc. Agree 25 32.05%
  Disagreed 53 67.95%

From table 2, it was observed that there is a low level of skillfulness in the use of ICT among respondents. Dutton (1990) suggested that the skills required to maximize the potential of electronic resources are much greater than those required for searching printed sources. These skills include a knowledge of the structure of the database and the instructions which must be input into the computer by the searcher, as well as an understanding of the ways in which the instructions are linked with one another. To this end, Brophy (1993) posited that students do not often appreciate the skills required to search electronic sources, stating that they are deceptively easy to use. Brophy argues that, it has reached a situation were the acquisition of information skills is acknowledged as one of the key learning objectives for every student entering a university, so that no student leaves without being fully equipped to cope with the information intensive world as an end-user (Brophy, 1993: 55).

Research Question 2: How does a postgraduate student of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka access electronic resources?

The results of the analysis are presented in figure 4.

Figure 4: Showing Access of Electronic Resources by Postgraduate Students of Delta State Library School

Figure 4 above indicates that majority of the respondent access electronic resources from the cybercafé . This corroborates Obuh, (2007) that cybercafés are the most readily available access to the electronic resources by users.

Research Question 3: In what medium are electronic resources used by postgraduate students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka?

The results of the analysis are presented in figure 5.

Figure 5: Showing Analysis of Medium of Electronic Resources Used by Postgraduate Students of Delta State Library School

Figure 5 above indicates that the internet is the most used medium used in sourcing electronic materials. This supports Kibirge, (2000) that more people are using the Internet to find information they need, information that is unmediated by the library.

Research Question 4: What is the level of web experience of postgraduate students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka?

The results of the analysis are presented in table 3.

Table 3: Showing Level of electronic resources experience of postgraduate students of Delta State Library School

S/N Items Options Frequency Percentage
1. Experience with the Internet. Agree 69 88.46%
  Disagreed 9 11.54%
2. Experience with search engines e.g. Google, Altavista, yahoo etc. Agree 35 44.87%
  Disagreed 43 55.13%
3. Experience with CD - ROM Agree 10 12.82%
  Disagreed 68 87.18%
4 Experience with topic maps Agree 31 39.74%
  Disagreed 47 60.26%
5 Experience with site maps Agree 38 48.72%
  Disagreed 40 51.28%
6 Experience with website inbuilt search engines Agree 38 48.72%
  Disagreed 40 51.28%
7 Experience with online databases Agree 31 39.74%
  Disagreed 47 60.26%
8 Experience with ready made questions (FAQs) Agree 33 42.31%
  Disagreed 45 57.69%
9 Experience with navigating web links Agree 45 57.69%
  Disagreed 33 42.31%%
10 Experience with mailing list Agree 35 44.87%
  Disagreed 43 55.13%
11 Experience with site help Agree 27 34.62%
  Disagreed 51 65.38%
12 Experience with weblog Agree 0 - -%
  Disagreed 324 100.00%

From table 3, it was observed that there is a low level of electronic resource experience amongst respondents. This corroborates Dutton (1990) and Brophy (1993) that students do not often appreciate the skills required to search electronic sources, stating that they are deceptively easy to use.

Research Question 5 : What is the level of electronic resource Usage by postgraduate students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka?

The result of the analysis is presented in table 4.

Table 4 Level of electronic resource Usage by postgraduate students of Delta State Library School

S/N Items Options Frequency Percentage
1. Do you use electronic resources Yes 78 100.00%
   No 0 - -
2. How often do you use electronic resources Very Often 13 16.67%
   Often 57 73.08%
   Rarely 8 10.26%
   Never 0 - -
3. For how long have you been using electronic resources Below 1year 23 29.47%
   1 - 2 years 27 34.63%
   3 – 4 years 19 24.36%
   Above 4 years 9 11.54%

5. How often do you use the following type of electronic resources?

1 Entertainment Very Often 0 --
   Often 9 11.54%
   Rarely 69 88.46%
   Never 0 --
2. Educational/Academic Very Often 18 23.08%
   Often 60 76.92%
   Rarely 0 - -
   Never 0 - -
3. Sport Very Often 10 12.82%
   Often 68 87.18%
   Rarely 0 - -
   Never 0 - -
4. Religious Very Often 0 --
   Often 0 --
   Rarely 12 15.38%
   Never 66 84.62%
5. News Very Often 10 12.82%
   Often 51 65.38%
   Rarely 17 21.80%
   Never 0 --
6. Commercial Very Often 0 --
   Often 0 --
   Rarely 21 26.92%
   Never 57 73.08%
7 Pornographic Very Often 0 --
   Often 0 --
   Rarely 10 12.82%
   Never 68 87.18%
8. Military Very Often 0 --
   Often 0 --
   Rarely 0 --
   Never 78 100.00%
9. Library/Informational Very Often 48 61.54%
   Often 30 38.46%
   Rarely 0 --
   Never 0 --
10. Full text article databases Very Often 27 34.62%
   Often 51 65.38%
   Rarely 0 --
   Never 0 --

The result of the research analysis in table 4 above revealed that students usage of electronic resources is quite high. A study of students of tertiary institution showed that they looked for the fastest way that would lead to satisfactory results when doing research, going for electronic information sources first (Valentine, 1993). According to Hall and Parsons (2001), dependence, coupled with easy access to technology, points toward students spending a substantial quantity of time on the Internet/online. Also from the result we could deduce that the frequency of usage of electronic resources is fairly high. electronic resources like library/informational, educational/academics, full text article databases, news, and sports are most frequently patronized unlike the religious, commercial, entertainment and pornographic resources are less likely patronized by respondents.

According to Hall (2000), the fact that the web has the ability to provide up-to-the-minute information and, secondly, this information can be obtained from around the world, made it a reliable source for news information. Thus, the news websites are highly patronized by students. From the result, there is a high level of students patronage of educational/academic resources, this is in agreement with the findings of Pascoe, Applebee, and Clayton, (1996) that ease, convenience, and accessibility were major factors influencing academic Internet use.

Research Question 6: Does gender affect the use of electronic resources by postgraduate students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka?

The results of the analysis are presented in table 5.

Table 5: Showing Gender and usage of electronic resources by postgraduate students of Delta State Library School

  Gender
  Male Female
S/N Items Options Frequency Percentage Frequency Percentage
1. Do you use electronic resources Yes 31 100.00% 47 100.00%
   No 0 - - 0 - -
2. How often do you use electronic resources Very Often 21 67.74% 29 61.70%
   Often 10 32.26% 18 38.30%
   Rarely 0 - - 0 - -
   Never 0 - - 0 - -
3. For how long have you been using electronic resources Below 1year 10 32.26% 13 27.66%
   1 - 2 years 7 22.58% 20 42.55%
   3 – 4 years 10 32.26% 9 19.15%
   Above 4 years 4 12.90% 5 10.64%

From table 5 the result of the analysis revealed a high frequency of usage by both male and female respondents. According to Goodson, McCormick, & Evans, (2001); Odell, Korgen, Schumacher, & Delucchi, (2000) the gender gap in Internet use has narrowed significantly in the college age group hence, the high frequency of usage observed here is of similar reason to that discussed by Davis, Bagozzi, and Warshaw (1992) that intrinsic motivation (enjoyment) and extrinsic motivation (usefulness) were key drivers of behavioral intention to use ICTs. And Vallerand (1997), that intrinsic motivation emphasizes on the pleasure and inherent satisfaction derived from a specific activity. Researches by Atkinson & Kydd, 1997; Vankatesh, ( 1999 ) have shown that the intrinsic motivation factor (enjoyment) not only had a positive effect on the extrinsic motivation factor (usefulness), it also had a positive effect on the intention to use information technology. Additionally, the extrinsic motivation factor (usefulness) was also found to have a positive effect on the intention to use computers ( Igbaria, 1993).

Research Question 7: What are the problems encountered by postgraduate students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University, Abraka in using electronic resources?

The results of the analysis is presented in table 6

Table 6: Problems encountered while using electronic resources

S/N Items Options Frequency Percentage
1. Information overload (or too many information) Agree 34 43.59%
   Disagree 44 56.41%
2. The need to filter the results from search Agree 58 74.36%
   Disagree 20 25.64%
3. Download delay Agree 55 70.51%
   Disagree 23 29.49%
4 Problem with credibility of information Agree 12 15.38%
   Disagree 66 84.62%
5 Failure to find information Agree 44 56.41%
   Disagree 34 43.59%
6 lack of search skills Agree 61 78.20%
   Disagree 17 21.80%
  High cost of access Agree 75 96.15%
   Disagree 3 3.85%
8 Power outages Agree 78 100.00%
   Disagree 0 - -
9 Inaccessibility of some websites Agree 40 51.28%
   Disagree 38 48.72%
10 Difficulties in navigation of some websites Agree 50 64.10%
   Disagree 28 35.90%

From table 6 it was observed that there is a general endorsement by respondents that issues like large mass of irrelevant information, the need to filter the results from search are some of the basic problems encountered while using electronic resources, these corroborates Eliopoulos & Gotlieb, (2003) that the major problem with search engines is that search queries turn up far too many results, erring on the side of recall rather than precision. Other problems are download delay, failure to find information, inadequate/lack of search skills, high cost of access, power outages, unavailability /disappearance of some websites, inaccessibility of some websites, difficulties in navigating through electronic resources and so on. According to DeLone & McLean, (1992) In spite of the popularity of the Internet, people may resist using it due to the slow response time. And, people complain that the information generated by the web is not what they need. Furthermore, Branch, Kim, & Koenecke, (2000) posit that profuse amounts of information are put on the Internet every day and in many cases, there is no editor, reviewer, or any other kind of review mechanism to determine the credibility, quality, accuracy, or timeliness of the material.

Summary of the Study

The research surveyed the Use of Electronic Resources by Postgraduate Students of Library School in Delta State University , Abraka , Nigeria . Based on a detailed literature review a total of five (5) research questions were and tested on a sample size of 78 representing the total population of postgraduate MSc and PhD students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria. The instrument employed for the collection of data was the questionnaire. Frequency counts and simple percentages were used in analyzing the data collected. From the data analysis the following findings were advanced.

There is a low level of skilfulness in the use of ICT among Postgraduate Students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka.

There is a low level of electronic resource experience amongst Postgraduate Students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka.

The internet via Cybercafé is the major facility used to access electronic resources by postgraduate students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka .

The level of electronic resource usage by Postgraduate Students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka is high.

There is a high frequency of usage of electronic resources by both male and female Postgraduate Students of the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka. In other words gender gap in electronic resource usage is quite negligible.

Issues like large mass of irrelevant information, the need to filter the results from search, download delay, failure to find information, inadequate/lack of search skills, high cost of access, power outages, inaccessibility of some electronic resources, difficulties in navigating through electronic resources and so on are problems encountered when using electronic resources by Postgraduate Students the Department of Library and Information Science, Delta State University , Abraka.

Conclusion

From the foregoing, it is obvious that Postgraduate Students of Library School in Delta State need to do more in order to improve on their ICT skills so as to equip them in utilizing the enormous benefits available in electronic formats. The high level of usage of electronic resources even as evident among both male and female gender is an indication to the fact that even without the expertise knowledge of manipulating information in an electronic environment, students are still getting satisfaction from the little they could get out of electronic sources although handicapped by their low level of ICT experience. This high level of use is also as a result of their perception of ease and usefulness of electronic sources such as the web.

Recommendations

Based on the findings of the study the following recommendations were made by the researcher;

  • Library schools must reach a position where the acquisition of Information and Communication Technology skills is acknowledged as one of the key learning objectives for its students so that students will be fully equipped to cope with the information intensive world as an end-user. To this end more practical courses on ICTs should be inculcated into the curriculum.
  • Government should equip schools with the enabling infrastructure such as adequate power supply, effective internet connectivity etc. that will encourage the usage of ICTs by students.
  • ICT centres with well trained personnel should be established in the universities where students can have free access to computers, the web and other electronic sources.
  • Library schools in Delta State should be staffed with more technical staff to impact ICT skills on students.

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