ABSTRACT: The study examines the influence of the internet as a research tool for students with a reference to Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. In this age of information and communication technology (ICT), the use of internet has become norms and culture in academic sphere especially in the higher institution of learning due to its richness in academic resources. The research was anchored on Technological Determinism Theory. Survey research method was adopted in which one hundred and twenty copies of questionnaires were administered to respondents who were purposively selected within OAU. Data collected were analyzed using frequency and percentage method. The results from the analysis of the responses showed that students use internet for research, assignment, social networking, dating and e-mailing. 36.4% said internet has positive effect on academic performance of students in high extent and 31.8% of the respondents use Google.com search engine while looking for information online. Majority of the respondents submitted that lack of fund and erotic power supply are the major challenge facing students in the usage of internet. Similarly, 90.9% of the respondents concluded that the internet has enhanced the research ability of students.
internet as a research tool
1.1 Background to the Study
Human activities and events have been altered by the emergence of the internet especially in the last decade. One of the aspects of life that has been seriously redefined is communication and information. Before now, students get most of their information from the library, newspapers, magazines and journals etc.
However, the arrival of the internet and the proliferation of search engines like google.com and Bing.com and other online research and learning platforms such as Google Scholar, Science Direct, Google Forms, Wikipedia, Encyclopaedia, social networking, online journals, blogs, websites among other resourceful platforms, these have completely revolutionalised the means, efforts, time and speed of gathering and sharing of information including research. No wonder, alexa.com has continued to ranked google.com as the most used internet platform in the world since 2010 till date (Alexarank, 2017).
Also, business and commerce have moved from physical buying and selling to e-commerce, e-marketing, e-shopping, e-banking. Sport and game have shifted to e-game and virtual games; education has become e-learning and e-book. Other activities that the internet has plugged into are e-dating, e-friend, e-marriage, e-politics, e-music, e-movies, virtual meeting, e-tourism, e-communication and interaction (Colin, 2014).
The internet provides several opportunities for the academic. It is a mechanism for information dissemination and a medium for collaborative interaction between individual and their computers without regard for geographic limitation of space. Kur (2004) cited in Awake (2002) posits that the dynamic nature of the 2lst century and more centuries to come rests on technological revolution. No wonder, Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian English Professor in 1964 propounded the concept of “Global Village” regarding the entire globe as having the potentials of becoming a “global community” where information and news about anything and anywhere in the world would be readily available for anyone’s consumption in any part of the world and without mincing word, the impact of modern communication technology like the internet in achieving this feat cannot be underestimated as more online journals are now available, today more than a thousand articles are available on every research subject intended apart from availability on many grammar correction and paraphrasing tool such grammarly, including anti plagiarism software etc.
It should be noted that Internet is a short form of international network or inter-network which is a means of communication which is behind all other modern technology that is capable of reaching the entire people in the globe at a very fast, effective and efficient manner. Also, The Internet is a global network connecting millions of computers. More than 190 countries are linked into exchanges of data, news and opinions (Wikipedia, 2016).
However, to access the internet, you did not only need an internet connection, but also need a device to access the internet, the range of devices to connect to the internet is increasing day by day. One can access the internet on desktop, laptop computers and now on smartphone and tablet, also the internet is now on a smart TV among other devices.
According to in Internet Live Stats Vangie, (2015) establishes that as of August 07, 2015 there was an estimated three billion, one hundred seventy nine million thirty five thousand two hundred (3,179,035,200) Internet users worldwide. The number of Internet users represents nearly 40 percent of the world’s population. According to (world meters.info) world population is below 7.4 billion with projection that more than 5 billion people will be online by 2020. (CiCso, 2015).
The largest number of Internet users by country is China, followed by the United States and India and in September 2014 with Nigeria now in 7th position worldwide, the total number of websites with a unique hostname online exceeded 1 billion. This is an increase from one website (info.cern.ch) in 1991. The first billion Internet users worldwide was reached in 2005. It is against this background that the research investigated the influence of the internet as a research tool for students with a reference to Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Having access to the Internet comes with its various advantages and one of such benefits is the ability to access millions of academic books and materials. However, the accessibility of the internet on the mobiles and computers is now essential to everyday life of students because they are solutions to assignments, projects and research to students. Also, presentations became smoother with laptop and smartphone with an option of projecting than with just paper, but then it soon became obvious that students no longer wish to read and searching academic materials in the library. What they do is to “ask google” and so they lack in depth knowledge to reason when faced with simple issues or problems.
Also, the lack of funds for effective running of most school library especially in polytechnics has adversely affected adequate provision of quality modern books, updated literature materials and journals, and where available, are now expensive as warranted by the economic recession, global political crises and currency devaluation, compounded by the information explosion that we have witnessed in the global electronic village that the World has turned to. In view of those afore-stated problems, Nigerian students have now turned their attention to the use of the internet for the purpose of studying, conducting research and obtaining general information.
Students also decide not to read or write in lecture halls believing they’ve got their mobiles, this has pushed test cheating on the rise at most schools; students search the web for answers, they look up stored information, they text answers to friends, and even take pictures of a recent test and share with others. It causes sleep deprivation. Students stay up all night texting or making night calls and makes learning during the day difficult. Smartphones cause difficulty in conveying feelings, emotions and inability to express thoughts and opinions on simple and complex matters.
To this end, the research influence of the internet as a research tool for students with a reference to Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. with a view to know the extent at which students of OAU depend on the internet for reading, assignment and research.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
- To examine the extent at which students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife are using the Internet for research.
- To ascertain the frequency and amount of time spent on the internet by OAU students research.
1.4 Research Questions
- To what extent does students of OAU are using the Internet for researching?
- How much time do OAU students spend on the Internet while and researching?
1.5 Significance of the Study
Conducting this research is very significant in a number of ways apart from fulfilling academic requirements e.g.
The research of this kind becomes necessary as its findings will provide the public with comprehensive and broad knowledge of what could be the impacts of internet on the readability and research among Nigerian students.
This research will help government to benefit from the suggestion and recommendations offered by the study if applied, as it would lead to an improvement in the education policies, programme and implementations.
The Nigerian students will find this research useful as it will enable them to know how to effectively employ the internet for academic advancement rather than frivolity
Thus, the value of this study will be beneficial to the management team, students, future researchers and technical centers at University of Ibadan.
The management and lecturers of tertiary institution will use this research to create programmes and formulate better lecture materials or study guides that include internet and other emerging media to aid learning, teaching and communication.
The outcome of this research will lead to a better understanding of the Internet more, its uses towards academic performance. It will also enable students to know their flaws and make corrections to it. The output of this research work will also add to the current literature on the Internet usage in academic generally.
Future researchers and scholars who many what to carry out research in this area or related aspect will find this materials very useful and serve as reference material while the findings will serve as eye opener to parents and guidance’ eyes on the need to monitor their children on who they do on the Internet.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study which investigated the influence of the internet as a research tool for students was narrowed in scope to students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Therefore, the geographical scope of this study shall be within Osun state. The institution is selected because of its proximity to the researcher as it will be difficult if not impossible to study all social media users across the tertiary institutions in Nigerian due to time available for this study, other considerable factors are geographical locations, age, sex and educational background of the respondents will be considered before administration of questionnaire.
1.7 Operational Definitions of Terms
Influence: It refers to the contribution, impact and how the Internet impacted on Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife research ability.
Internet: This is a global connection of computers for gathering, researching, reading, bloging, sharing, receiving of academic ideas that can enhance learning, reading and researching among students at all levels.
Smartphone: A mobile phone that performs many of the functions of a computer, typically having a touch screen interface, Internet access, and an operating system capable of running downloaded apps for research and reading.
Mobile learning: This is a form of electronic distance education where individuals learn across multiple contexts, through social and content interactions, using personal electronic devices such as computer and smartphones.