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INFORMATION LITERACY SKILLS, COMPUTER SELF-EFFICACY AND E-RESOURCES USE BY POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS IN PRIVATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARIESIN SOUTH-WEST, NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the Study
University libraries are known for providing resources to meet the information needs of those within the university community. Thus, they play supportive role to the university education by providing necessary information resources and services, to ensure that the needs, expectations and aspirations of their users are satisfied. In the past, most university libraries provided information in print format such as print textbooks, newspapers, monographs, magazines and so on, but with the advancement in technology, most libraries have expanded their collections to include electronic resources abbreviated as e-resources. The Anglo- American Cataloguing Rules, Second Edition (AACR2, 2005:p.1) defined an electronic resource as “material (data and/or program(s)) encoded for manipulation by a computerized device. This material may require the use of a peripheral directly connected to a computerized device (e.g., CD-ROM drive) or a connection to a computer network (e.g., the Internet)”. The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA, 2012:p.3) definede-resources as “materials that require computer access, whether through a personal computer, mainframe, or handheld mobile device”. From the definitions, it can be deduced that electronic resources require the knowledge and use of computers.
Electronic resources are materials that are available and can be accessed electronically through such computer networked facilities as online library catalogues, the Internet and the World Wide Web, digital libraries and archives, government portals and websites, CD-ROM databases, online academic databases, such as Medline or commercial databases such as LexisNexis (Karunarathna, 2014). Electronic resources are any collection of information created electronically that form part of an electronic record and that is usually stored separately within the digital file making up the electronic record as a whole. Every electronic record consists of at least one digital object , component or element, such as the bits of data that come together to create a word processed document.
For most university libraries, the provision of e-resources has become increasingly important due to the demands of the 21st-century information users who want to find the technologies they are used to outside of the library, in the library. It is, therefore, no longer novel to find electronic encyclopedias, newspapers, books, journals, theses and dissertations,CD-ROM databases, online databases and web-based resources in libraries. The use of electronic resources no doubt has myriad advantages for libraries as users can now access information resources across the globe without restriction which was practically impossible in the past. Lending credence to this view, Dadzie (2007) noted that e-resources provide access to information that might otherwise, be restricted to users due to geographical location or finance constraints as well as to extensive links to additional resources having related contents. University libraries, can, therefore, go beyond the information resources present in the physical library to enable access to information in remote servers. In university community where students are mostly engaged in research activities, the provision of e-resources becomes important considering that the resources contain frequently updated information.
The provision of electronic resources in university libraries plays a prominent role in facilitating access to required information by the users in an easy and quick manner. Electronic information resources, in reality have become essential in the academic environment. They serve as motivating factor to students as they provide them opportunity to transmit, acquire or download, process and disseminate information on any subject of interest. Electronic resources provision makes it possible for users to access new tools and applications for information seeking and retrieval. E-resources have become invaluable research tools that complement the print collection in the traditional library setting. These resources serve as veritable sources of information which students could tap into to aid their class assignments, write research and term papers, search for information on their subject areas and so on.
Due to the several advantages of e-resources such as timeliness, search facilities, remote access and up datedness, they become more indispensable after the arrival of the Internet in the academic environment. The provision of e-resources in tertiary institutions of learning are new ways of gaining quick access to a great number of research information and dissemination globally. As a result of the potential benefits offered by e-resources, they have been embraced by university libraries. Students, especially those at the postgraduate level would benefit from the e-resources if they are well harnessed as they will provide excellent opportunities to access scholarly information which are beyond the reach of libraries due to geographical barrier and limited finances.
Once electronic resources are provided by university libraries, it is expected that students utilize them to justify the investment on such resources. Unlike the federal and state universities in Nigeria which are funded with public money, and which enjoy certain privileges such as the Educational Trust Fund (ETF) which seeks to improve the quality of education in Nigeria through a 2% education tax imposed on the profits of all registered companies and banks in Nigeria and library consortium such as the Nigerian Research and Education Network (NgREN) to which 27 federal universities are currently members (Nigerian Research and Education Network,2016). Private universities, on the other hand, depend mostly on subvention from their proprietors and other internally generated revenue (IGR). In most cases, where funds are made available, the allocation is shared through an agreed upon formula unique to each university which may or may not be favourable to the university library.
Although most university libraries (public or private) spend money in the acquisition of electronic resources, some libraries devote man-hours to harvesting free electronic resources online with the goal of increasing access and use of electronic resources. However, irrespective of what libraries are able to provide, the utilisation of a product or service is very important as it shows the value attached to such product or service. On the other hand, when a service or product is unutilized, it indicates that there is a problem with it. In such situations, it is necessary for library management to critically review the product or service. Use, therefore, becomes a standard for measuring the worth of a library’s product or service. Little wonder then, that some studies have been dedicated to investigating the use of electronic resources in libraries (Egberongbe, 2011; Ajayi, 2014; Islam, 2015; Daramola, 2016).
In the United Kingdom (UK), Ray and Jay (1998) examined students’ use of electronic resources in three universities and found that alarge number of the students use e-resources. For instance, in Saudi Arabia, a similar study came out witha similar conclusion. A lot of researches have been carried out in the area of availability and utilization of electronic resources in Nigerian University libraries (Ozoemelem, 2009; Deng, 2010; Madhusudhan, 2010; Egberongbe, 2011; Komolafe-Opadeji, 2011 and Ndubisi and Udo, 2013;Okite-Amughoro, Makgahlela and Bopape, 2014; Abubakar & Adetimirin, 2015) and majority of these studies found low frequency of use of e-resources. The findings of these studiesgive credence to a major survey of literature carried out by Tenopir (2003) which concluded by noting that while the use of electronic resources by students in developed countries is well-recognised, their use in the less developed countries is still in its infancy. Several reasons such as low bandwidth, erratic power supply, inadequate provision of computers, lack of information literacy skills and low computer self-efficacy were reported to attribute to the low frquency of utilisation of electronic resources in developing countries by the authors.The Internet and various forms of web-enabled technologies are growing exponentially, and many more’ pieces of information are becoming digitized in computers. All these, are to assist students, especially postgraduate students in their learning and research activities.Students are expected to use e-resources while at the university to improve the quality of their academic work. To be successful in the useof the available e-resources, students need to acquire and practice the skills necessary to explore them.Therefore, for effective information search to be achieved by postgraduate students, computer literacy is crucial.
Information literacy skills refer to knowledge of one’s information needs, and the ability to identify, locate, evaluate, organize and effectively create, use and communicate information (The Association of College and Research Libraries, 2000). It is required for active participation in the information society. Indeed, the University of Idaho (2011)clearly stated that “not all information is created equal: some are authoritative, current, reliable, but some are biased, out of date, misleading, false; the amount of information available is going to keep increasing and the types of technology used to access, manipulate, and create information will likewise expand”. To make the best out of the ever-growing list of electronic resources, it is therefore, necessary for users to acquire basic information literacy skills necessary for the identification, retrieval and use of electronic resources.
The importance of information literacy skills to postgraduate students cannot be overemphasized because they enable the effective and efficient use of the electronic resources. These skills help users formulate a search, identify appropriate information sources, to select the right search tools, to employ suitable search strategies as well as enabling them to evaluate the searched results. Information literate people will thus, demonstrate an awareness of how they gather, use, manage,synthesizeand create information in an ethical manner and will have the information skills to do so effectively (SCONUL Working Group on Information Literacy, 2011). For today’s learners, information literacy promotes problem solving approaches and thinking skills in asking questions and seeking answers, finding information, forming opinions, evaluating sources and making decisions, fostering successful learners, effective contributors, confident individuals and responsible citizens.
Determining the credibility of information in the present age where information is produced in a large volume is imperative to making appropriate use of information. Due to theincrease in the volume of information,information users require the search skills to effectively explore the available information. To make effective use of the increasing resources, there is a need for information users to overcome information anxiety and as well explore the available information to enable them interprets and utilizes information for problem-solving. The American Library Association (2000) stressed that information literacy is required in the information age that is characterizedby technological advancement. Information users are now encumbered with several information which they are to make selection from. It stressed that information users must possess the ability to ascertain the authenticity and usability of the information they find. Information literacy is required to navigate the rapidly growing information which encompasses an increasing number of information suppliers as well as the amount supplied, and includes bodies of professional literature, popular media, libraries, the Internet, and more. This abundant information is of little help to those who do not possess the skills to search and utilize information appropriately. Information literacy skills are necessary for studentswho want to effectively utilize the available electronic resources as they provide necessary base for learning other skills which are required to explore electronic resources.
The concept of information literacy requires that a personrecognizes when information is needed,have the ability to find, scrutinize, utilize and then useinformation ethically to addressidentified problems or to make decisions. This is so because, whatever the source of information is,users must possess the skill to understand and critically evaluate the information they find. The need to train students, especially postgraduate students to be information literate is recognized worldwide since it is not possible for them to search and utilize needed information without adequate skills to navigate and manipulate information technologies. For some of the postgraduate students who have gained employments usually face the challenge of coping with their jobs alongside their research activities. To be effective at their job and at the same time perform well in their research work, there is a need for them to strive to possess the skills required to use the e-resources provided by the university library since they are faster to use.
Considering the complexity associated with the use of electronic resources, students require information literacy skills to access and use information. The growth in literature, its volume, variety and complexity has put severe constraints on the users search for their needed information. The complexity of electronic resources has also led to the tedious search, which further discouraged the students in using library resources. Although most postgraduate students can be said to own a laptop, iPad or mobile phone which exposes them to the use of technology, the use of such electronic devices do not guarantee knowledge of information literacy skills needed to access web-based resources or electronic databases in the library. The acquisition of information literacy skills isessential for students, especially postgraduate students in order to evaluate and make ethical use of information. This would not only give value to the result of their research work but also ensure that they do not engage in copying and pasting which has come to characterize students’ use of online resources(Trip, 2010).
The ability to use e-resources effectively is increasingly becoming recognized as integral part of students study and a great concern to university libraries.Thelack of information literacy skills constitute an hindrance to the use of electronic resources by students and this lower the quality of their academic performance in the technology era (Kodani, 2012; Ivana, 2016). To fully maximize the potentials of electronic resources, there is need for computer literacy. This is necessary considering that searching in the electronic environment requires knowledge of the structure of databases and requires instructions which must be input into the computer by the searcher.Since e-resources are technology dependent, there is, therefore, theneedfor computer self-efficacy.
Self-efficacy as a concept was propounded by Bandura (1977) who opined that success is not only based on the possession of necessary skills, but also on the confidence to use skills effectively. Self-efficacy is the confidence that one can successfully perform a task. Self-efficacy, therefore, can be termed as an inherent belief that motivates a person to accomplish given task based on positive self-assessment. The term self-efficacy helps in understanding why individuals decide to focus on particular activities and the degree of effort they exert on such activities. Self-efficacy is the belief that an individual has the confidence and the ability to perform the courses of actions needed to respond to a given situation in which he has received training. Self-efficacy is an important construct for students, particularly at the postgraduate level as Bandura (1997, p. 82) affirmed that “People who doubt their efficacy are more likely to view repeated success as products of laborious effort than as evidence of their own capability, whereas self-assured people believe more highly in their capabilities following similar successes”. In other words, people with low self-efficacy, even when they are able to accomplish a task, see it as “laborious effort” or struggle, rather than attributing it to their ability which makes the task unappealing, hence, a tendency to stay away from performing such duties. On the other hand, those with high self-efficacy, attribute success to their ability, thereby making them confident and willing to pursue similar exercise.
In the use of computers, individual can also display a level of self-efficacy, those with low self –confidence or self- efficacy may likely shy away from the use of computers. Even when they do, they may likely see it as a laborious exercise, whereas, even when computer skills are not perfect, the individual with high self-efficacy may be pushed to keep using the computer, believing that he or she is capable of utilising it, thereby, enhancing personal skills through practice. With this belief also comes the motivation to utilisethecomputer. Students with high computer self-efficacy are more likely than others to explore new technologies, software or databases. In the use of electronic resources, it can, therefore, be assumed that students with high computer self-efficacy would be more likely to take advantage of e-resources when compared to students with low computer self-efficacy, as the later may lack the confidence or shy away from using computer-based resources.
The electronic nature of electronic resources, however, demands that users be confident and skilled in the use of computers. These skills include but are not limited to knowledge of imputing data, organizing and managing files, describing basic computer functions, familiarity with computer software packages and the ability to navigate the World Wide Web. Considering all these, Ray and Day (1998) pointed out that the skills required to access e-resources are much greater than those required for searching print resources. Users of electronic resources, no doubt, must have a firm belief in their ability to carry out computer related task in order to effectively retrieve and utilize electronic resources.
A strong sense of efficacy in the use of computer enhances performance with the use of e-resources among students. While this may be so, the study such as Oluwaseye and Abraham (2013) which investigated the use of e-resources by students in higher institutions in Oyo state reported low patronage of e-resources by majority of the respondents due to lack of computer skills. Furthermore, the study revealedlow usage of databases by the students thereby affirming the link between use of electronic resources and the skills to use a computer which is a necessary skill for postgraduate students who are regularly engaged in research.
Researchers have proposed that positive attitude towards computers and high computer self-efficacy and lower computer anxiety levels are important factors to help people learn computer skills and use computers in higher education (Smith, 2001; Sam, Othman & Nordin, 2005; Nina, 2008; Lunenburg, 2011) . Computer self-efficacy is the belief in one’s ability to perform a desired outcome using a computer. There is much support from literature that computer self-efficacy is a valuable indicator of whether or not students will utilizethe computer-based information resources. Moersh (2010) whose study investigated the acceptance of Eduweb TV innovation, found that teacher’s confidence, especially teacher self-efficacy is a significant factor in determining the ability of teachers to integrate technology in teaching.
As it applies to computer self-efficacy, one’s choice, effort and persistence in using computer technology is influenced by one’s level of computer self-efficacy. Computer self-efficacy is an important factor that influences e-resources utilization in the technological world (Aşkar&Umay, 2001). Computer self-efficacy is associated with attitudes toward computer technologies. The extent to which a person demonstrates confidence in the use of a computer can also determine the extent to which he will use e-resources since the resources are accessed via computers.
Postgraduate students are those students who are undertaking graduate studies after obtaining a first degree or its equivalent. At the postgraduate level, engaging in research activity or a research project can be an integral part of a course unit. Unlike students at the undergraduate level, postgraduate students are often required to present class seminars on relevant course topics thereby, increasing their demand for the use of electronic resources. According to Washington-Hoagland et al. (2002), postgraduate students are an important user group to explore, because they are more likely to make significant contributions to their fields. Considering the research needs of postgraduate students, it, therefore, becomes necessary for university libraries to make adequate information in print and electronic formats to meet their needs.
As libraries situated within universities, university libraries are expected to provide effective information services that would enhance teaching, learning, and research within the university community. Research in particular is crucial to the survival of universities being the fundamental process of knowledge acquisition. For teachers, to impart knowledge, they must engage in research to deepen their understanding of concepts and for students to learn, there is also the need to conduct research, with the view of seeking and identifying solutions to problems. Research is essential within the university environment as it serves as a major determinant of the educational quality of an institution. Azad and Seyyed (2007) maintained that high research profile adds to institutional reputation, visibility, and recognition.To carry out research, there is need for extensive literature search which brings students particularly, postgraduate students to rely on the electronic resources provided by the university library. Indeed,the introduction of electronic information resources in libraries in Nigeria will facilitate access to vast collections of digital books and electronic journals for postgraduate students.
The idea of private university education system in Nigeria was born out of the quest for quality higher education as there is a general decrease in the standard of education in the public university system. In the Nigerian context, a wide range of experiences, revolve around the combination of internal and external driving forces of the private surge in higher education. Obasi (2007) enumerated such internal driving forces to include the inability of public universities to cope with increasing demands for admission; inability of the governments to fund expansion; the concomitant falling standards in public universities; frequent closures and unstable academic calendar due to staff and students’ unrest among many others. According to the author, the external driving forces are rooted in the prevailing neo-liberal economic policies, globalization, and the information and communication technology (ICT) revolution, all of which have affected higher education worldwide.
In recent years, the Nigerian university system has been going through a fundamental transformation which is evident in the number of existing private universities and student enrollment. Private universities are providing additional opportunities to prospective candidates who could not gain entry into the public universities with many of the private universities introducing new courses of study which are either not available or are not well funded in public universities. Proprietors of private universities have been more alert to the demands of the labour market and parents for exotic courses that public universities might be unwilling to introduce for their novelty or cost. This transformation is geared towards expanding access, promoting and ensuring quality and increasing institutional efficiency and thereby be responsive and relevant towards the production of qualitative, globally competitive entrepreneurial and self-reliant graduates (NUC 2005).
Private universities came into existence in Nigeria on April 20, 1999, with the granting of licenses by the Federal Government of Nigeria to three universities to operate as private universities (Osagie, 2009). They are: Babcock University, Ilishan Remo, Ogun State; Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State and Madona University, Okija, Anambra State (National Universities Commission NUC, www.nuc.edu.ng 2012). By 2004, the total number of private universities in the country had reached eight (8), while it increased to 34 in 2008 and 50 in 2012 (NUC www.nuc.edu.ng 2012). Since then, the number of private universities in Nigeria has grown to 69, out of which 15 have been approved to run postgraduate programmes, National Universities Commission (NUC) (2015). Among the universities with NUC’s approval to run postgraduate programmes, nine are from South-West, Nigeria, which comprised of six (6) states, namely: Lagos,Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, and Ekiti states.
A common goal unifying private universities in South-West, Nigeria is their quest to providing quality education for students at all levels of university education. The purpose of higher education is to prepare students for their future. To achieve this goal, libraries in private universities must be equipped with electronic resources to satisfy the information needs of students especially postgraduate students. Likewise, students must also endeavour to equip themselves with information literacy and computer skills necessary for the exploitation of electronic resources. This is so because, the skills that have become increasingly important in the pursuance of higher education will affect both how students manipulate the growing electronic resources and the way the resources are used for learning. In other words, the level of the ICT skills possessed by postgraduate students will determine their level of usage of e-resources in the information age.With the availability of ICT facilities in most university libraries, postgraduate students who possess information search skills as well as skills to manipulate computerswould find it easy to search, locate, evaluate and use information to meet their information needs in the libraries.This study, therefore, examinedinformation literacy skills, computer self-efficacy and the use of e-resources by postgraduate students of private universities in South-West, Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In Nigeria,the university system is advancing as new technologies are being introduced into teaching, learning and research activities. On their part, university libraries must support the mission of the university through the provision of information resources in a variety of formats including electronic format. While the provision of electronic resources in libraries no doubt has myriad advantages as it enables access to current information at the right time and in the right place, provides the opportunity to search several files at a time and so on, it also presents a lot of challenges as it is computer-based and requires information literacy for searching, retrieval, and use.
Literature has revealedthat electronic resources are grossly underutilized despite the huge investment made by university libraries to ensure their provision.Shaibu and Mohammed (2017) observed that considerable investments are being tailored toward acquiring e-resources in Nigerian universities bringing up the issue of the extent of usage and users’ satisfaction with these resources in these libraries. Studies by Olawaseye and Abraham (2013), Abubakar and Adetimirin (2015),Egberongbe (2011) and Sharma (2009) revealed that practical uses of e-resources are not up to the worth in comparison to investments made in acquiring these resources.The underutilization of e-resources could be attributed to lack of information literacy which limits the ability to effectively locate and make ethical use of needed information or low computer self-efficacy which could hinder the zeal for making use of computer-based technologies.
Where such is the case, libraries in private universities which do not receive any form of financial assistance from the government would find it difficult justifying the investment on electronic resources and their contribution towards achieving the goals of the library. At the same time, postgraduate students would also be missing out in research materials that would have otherwise improved the quality of their research work thereby lowering the standard of research work and contribution to the society as a whole. It is against this background that this study investigated the extent to which information literacy skills and computer self-efficacy could influence e-resources utilization by postgraduate students in private universities in South-West, Nigeria.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main objective of this study is to investigate the influence of information literacy skills and computer self-efficacy on the use of e-resources by postgraduate students of private universities in South-West, Nigeria. The specific objectives are to:
- find out the purpose(s)of use of e-resources bypostgraduate students in private universities in South-West, Nigeria;
- determine thefrequency ofuse of e-resources by postgraduate students in private universities in South-West, Nigeria;
- ascertain thelevel of information literacy skills of postgraduate students in private universities in South-West, Nigeria;
- find out the level ofcomputer self-efficacy of postgraduate students in private universities in South-West, Nigeria;
- determine the relationship between information literacy skills and e-resources use by postgraduate students in private universities in South-West, Nigeria;
- ascertain the relationship between computer self-efficacy and e-resources use bypostgraduate students in private universities in South-West, Nigeria and
- determine the combined influence of information literacy skills and computer self-efficacy on use of e-resources by postgraduate students in private universities in South-West, Nigeria
- Research Questions
The study provided answers to the following research questions:
- For what purposedo postgraduate students in private universities in South-West, Nigeria use e-resources?
- What is the frequency of use of e-resources by postgraduate students in private universities in South-West, Nigeria?
- What is the level of information literacy skills of postgraduate students in private universities in South-West, Nigeria?
- What is the level of computer self-efficacy of postgraduate students in private universities in South-West, Nigeria?
Thestudy was guided by the following null hypotheses:
H01. There is no significant relationship between information literacy skills and e-
resourcesuse by postgraduate students in private universities in South-West,
H02. There is no significant relationship between computer self-efficacy and e-resources
useamong postgraduate students in private universities in South-West, Nigeria
H03. The combination of information literacy skills and computer self-efficacydoes not