Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Barriers to Information Seeking by Secondary School Students in Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Barriers to Information Seeking by Secondary School Students in Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

Information seeking as an underlying feature in education is not done without an enabling environment where needed resources and services are provided. Understanding the barriers to information seeking of Secondary School Students is a big step towards understanding the information seeking behaviour of students in Nigerian tertiary institutions.

Secondary school students are teenagers (who are in between primary school and university or higher education) who are provided with different wide variety of subjects in order to prepare them to choose from a wide variety of discipline and a specialty of interest. This specialty of interest is what defines the type of career they study for at tertiary institutions. It is therefore assumed that they seek information and would have barriers peculiar to the type of environment provided in the secondary schools they were educated at.

This is exactly the reason behind Kuhlthau's theory of intermediation, mediation, instruction giving and help (which has been) termed the "zone of intervention"(Kuhlthau, 2004 & Meyers, Nathan & Saxton, 2007). In Kuhlthau's theory, teachers and teacher librarians play intervening roles which assist secondary school students navigate barriers to their information seeking. Kulthau posited that a teacher librarian attached to a school library collaborates with teachers in order to provide help to students that seek information in the library; as students seeking information would pass through period of uncertainty mixed up with affective, cognitive and physical actions(Kuhlthau, 2004). The affective, cognitive and physical actions determine their information behaviour.

Kuhlthau's theory was merged with six principles of Harris and Dewdney (Meyers, Nathan & Saxton, 2007) which provided a situational context for seeking information. This situational context provides the principles viz: information needs arise from the help seeker's situation; the decision to seek help or not to seek help is affected by many factors; people tend to seek information that is most accessible; the role of peer groups and friends determines if help is sought as students seek help from people they interrelate with; and expression of emotional support determines if information is sought or not and people follow habitual patterns in seeking information.

Information seeking is defined for the purpose of this study as tasks, attempts and actions carried out by a person to solve an information need or problem through his cognitive, emotional and physical actions done in any environment of his search. The environment of study for this research were school libraries and the focus groups for this research were JSS II and SSS II in Ado-Ekiti. The rationale for this selection was because JSS II students (at their level) are assumed to have adjusted to the activities in school which includes the use of the library while SSS II students are matured enough to use and seek information. Furthermore, they are the preparatory class for national examination (Junior and Senior Secondary Schools Examination).

School libraries are libraries that support the academic programs, visions and missions of a secondary, primary or nursery school through provision of diverse forms of resources and services that meet the information need of its users. The role of school libraries in the academic prowess of students cannot be overemphasized as they are significantly connected to higher scores in examination (Smalley, 2004; Ryan, 2004; Small, 2009 and Lance, 2011), however these are studies carried outside Nigerian environment; thus there are different distinctive environmental features that would affect information seeking and the type of barriers encountered.

Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State which is the location for this research is situated in the south west of Nigeria. It is the capital of Ekiti State. There are approximately 20 private secondary schools in Ado-Ekiti which are combinations of Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) and Senior Secondary Schools (SSS) (VConnect, 2014). …

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