Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Undergraduates' Preference between Web Search Engines and Reference Sources for Research Activities in Two Universities in South West Nigeria

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Undergraduates' Preference between Web Search Engines and Reference Sources for Research Activities in Two Universities in South West Nigeria

Article excerpt


Universities are critical to the development of societies, as social and economic transformations are engineered within these ivory towers. Universities are the birth place of life changing ideas and innovations which are further concretised to benefit the rest of humanity. They are the chief agents for progress in the society; progressive nations are those with flourishing universities. Universities help in the development of nations by providing the high as well as middle level manpower needed for social, economic and political advancement. This is done through the programs of teaching, learning, research and community services (Okiy 2010). This places university education at the apex in the ranking of educational system, as it is designed to accommodate knowledge acquisition and production (Anunobi & Nwogwugwu 2013).

Universities will not be able to acquire and produce knowledge without research. Anenene, Alegbeleye and Oyewole (2017, p.1) asserted that "a university that falters in the production of brillant researches that can be applied in moving the society forward socioeconomically and technologically has lost its relevance". Fawole et al (2006) noted that research is a form of inquiry that involves a systematic process for recognising a need for information, acquiring and validating that information and deriving conclusions from it. Faculty and students are actively involved in research activities in the universities. These activities lead to useful research outputs that will increase the academic status of the universities in the public domain. Faculty members write empirical and researched articles which are published in scientific journals and they also present papers in seminars and conferences. Students also need to write their projects, dissertations and theses. All these throw up a large volume of research activities within the university set up.

A very critical infrastructure within the university that ensures that the university fulfils its research function is the intellectual pillar of the university, the university library. Oyewole and Adetimirin (2015) noted that the university library is an integral part of a university established to meet the information and research needs of its students, faculty and staff. These needs are diverse in line with the subject areas offered in the universities. That is why the objectives of university libraries can therefore be as diverse as the institutions themselves (Onuoha, Ikonne & Madukoma 2013). Thus, the university library is one created to serve a university. Thus, university library is regarded as a repository of knowledge and information gateway where information materials are stored (Emwanta & Nwalo, 2013). Faculty members and students will find it very difficult to engage in meaningful research without the contributions of the university library.

The university library supports the research activities in the universities through the provision of information resources that are made accessible to the patrons. Aina (2004) noted that information resources appear in a variety of formats, print and electronic, which are very useful to the users of the library. These information carriers can be broadly categorised as print media, manuscripts, cartographic materials, graphic media, audio recordings, audio-visual media, microforms and the digital media (Aina 2004). Under the broad categories of the information carriers are specific information resources like books, pamphlets, serials, maps, atlases, globes, photographs, drawings, charts, postcards, filmstrips, slides, and transparencies. Others include sound disc, video recordings, computer files and electronic resources.

University libraries also acquire and provide access to reference sources. These information carriers are very essential and critical to research activities. Nwalo (2000) stated that reference sources are information resources in any form or location which can provide answers to the information needs of library users expressed as queries. …

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