Use of Library Information Resources and Services as Predictor of the Teaching Effectiveness of Social Scientists in Nigerian Universities

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Roberson (2005) defined a library as an institution that manages the intellectual products of society and processes them in such a manner that the individual can gain access to them readily. University libraries provide resources for knowledge acquisition, recreation, personal interests and interpersonal relationships of users (academic staff, non academic staff and students and library personnel). The university library is a key component of a university system. Library information resources may be defined as those information bearing materials that are in both printed and electronic formats such as textbooks, journals, indexes, abstracts, newspapers and magazines, reports, CD-ROM databases, Internet/E-mail, videotapes/cassettes, diskettes, magnetic disk, computers, microforms, etc. These information materials are the raw materials that libraries acquire, catalogue, stock, and make available to their patrons, as well as utilise to provide various other services. Library information services may be viewed as the activities that libraries and their personnel render to meet the information needs of their users. Such services include core and traditional library services such as reference, current awareness, selective dissemination of information (SDI), circulation of library information resources, indexing and abstracting, CD-ROM database search, translation, microfilming, bindery, as well as digital age Internet-based and business bureau services such as e-mail, world wide web, photocopying, facsimile, word-processing, etc.

Among the categories of users which university libraries serve are academic social scientists. The social sciences are a branch of knowledge concerned with the study of human beings interacting or acting in groups (Line, 2000). The social sciences, which include such subjects like Economics, Geography, Sociology, Anthropology, Political science, Psychology and Demography, aim primarily toward understanding human social behaviour, as well as the relationship between people and the social systems in which they participate. Social scientists in Nigerian universities, like other university academics, are expected to perform three main functions--teaching, research, and service (such as consultancy practice). These functions are mutually interdependent. Teaching and service are expected to be enriched by the improved subject matter knowledge obtained through research, whilst research strategies and conclusions should be enriched by the feedback from students and society. In this respect, university administrators are usually very concerned with how to motivate their academics to undertake innovative research and teach effectively. In particular, teaching effectiveness is considered important because effective teaching by lecturers would ultimately facilitate improved student learning in, and quality graduate output from, the universities to improve society.

Teaching effectiveness can be defined as the ability of a teacher to inculcate knowledge and skills in students, as well as change their behaviour for better living. Adam (1993) and Ismaila (1999) have noted that teachers' knowledge of subject matter, skill proficiency and resourcefulness could be linked to school effectiveness, teacher effectiveness and students' academic performance. In other words, one of the requirements for the teaching effectiveness of social science teachers in universities is improved knowledge of subject matter acquired through research and service. In addition, such teachers should possess teaching skill proficiency and resourcefulness. Among the strategies that demonstrate such skills include: clear goal setting, good structuring of curriculum content, clarity of presentation of lectures, frequent questioning of students, use of exercises immediately after presentation of new content, use of evaluation, feedback and connective instruction, effective class management, etc.

Teaching effectiveness variables and indicators could be used to assess the effectiveness with which social scientists in Nigerian universities perform their teaching functions, much in the same way as the quality of their research functions is usually assessed by the quality of research activities and publications. …