Pioneer Bachelor Degree: Citation Analysis of Covenant University Students' Research Projects

Article excerpt

Introduction

One popular method of research in library and information science is citation analysis. Citation analysis is an aspect bibliometrics, and studies reference to and from documents (Diadoto, 1994, cited in Gooden, 2001). According to Aina (2002), citation analysis is a research method in which references cited are statistically analysed to find what journals are cited by researchers in a particular discipline.

The benefit of bibliometrics and citation analysis is expressed by Van Raan (2003), which is reinforced by the studies (Glenn, 1995; Lal and Panda, 1996; Okiy, 2003 and Aksnes, 2006) that have used this method of research enquiry to evaluate a library collection. Bibliometric studies have provided insight into emerging and obsolescent areas of research by investigating those resources or materials that are used regularly. This technique has also been employed to unobtrusively determine which resources students at any level are using to conduct research for their projects and dissertations (Gooden, 2001 and Megnigbeto 2006). This study adds to that literature by analysing the citations in the research project reports of the pioneer Bachelor degree graduands that have been submitted to the Covenant University library.

Covenant University is the foremost private University in Nigeria according to the National University Commission's (NUC) ratings of 2005. Its 16 academic programmes are all fully accredited by NUC in 2001, and the university has a mission of producing credible new leaders for Africa. The University Library, also called Centre for Learning Resources, is among the best university libraries in Africa, judging by its collections and its implementation of information technology for all services. The library serves the staff and students of the University's three colleges: Business and Social Sciences, Human Development, and Science and Technology. The Center for Learning Resources also provides access to numerous online databases and catalogues.

In July 2006, 724 students formed the university's first graduating class. These pioneer bachelors degree students had all submitted a research project report to their departments, with a copy deposited with the university library. This study analyses the citations in these research reports, the goal of helping the library determine which materials and resources are heavily used and which materials are needed to improve the collection.

Objectives of the Study

* The objectives of this study are to:

* Analyse the type of cited materials

* Find the average citations made per project report

* Determine the amount of internet or e-resources cited

* Ascertain the recency of citations

Literature Review

According to Kostoff (1998), the usefulness of citation analysis is in measuring research impact or quality. It is not surprising therefore, that many researchers have used this method for evaluation purposes. A citation analysis of undergraduate term papers from Cornell University (Davis and Cohen, 2001) reveals a significant decrease in the frequency of scholarly resources cited between 1976 and 1999. Book citations decreased from 30% to 19%, newspapers citations increased from 7% to 19%, and web citations increased from 9% to 21%. A related study which examined 33 undergraduate student papers presented at a symposium (Kraus, 2006) revealed that there were a total of 770 citations, of which 76.2% came from journals, 16.4% from books or book chapters, and only 1% from websites.

Megnigbeto (2006) studied the citations of dissertations of library and information science undergraduate students and found that the number of citations to Internet resources was very low, while Davis (2002) examined the effects of the web on undergraduate citation behaviour. Ogunleye (1996) used the same method to study science project reports accepted by a Nigerian university. …