Reviewed By: Nhu-y Tran, Cheryl Pavliv, Rachel Fiege , Kathryn Wallace
Link to article: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/2164/
Synopsis and description of how the article represents an international perspective
The article “Demographic Variables and Academic Discipline as Determinates of Undergraduates’ Use of Electronic Library Resources in Federal Universities in Southwest, Nigeria” discusses the importance of providing electronic materials to university students. It was conducted at six different universities in Nigeria. ELR’s consists of a wide variety of resources including: e-journals, e-books, online public access catalogues, CD-ROM databases, and E-theses. The objective was to find demographic variables in the usage of ELRs, academic purposes for ELRs, frequency of use, the demographic variables within different disciplines, as well as comparing the different disciplines.
This article represents an international perspective because academic libraries should have ELRs that are used widely across all campuses regardless of what university or country a student is studying. Campuses allow a broader perspective from a wide range of studies when students have electronic library resources. ELRs also allow students to read the most up to date research occuring in their field of study. Due to the importance of ELRs, librarians need to make sure students use these valuable sources. Research is important in this field because it allows academic libraries to see where their shortcomings are to fill the gap that is needed for students.
Core research question(s)
What are the relationships between undergraduates’ demographic variables such as age and gender and academic discipline on the use of electronic library resources in federal universities in South-west, Nigeria?
Methods used to answer the research question(s)
This study is a descriptive survey research design. Adefunke Sarah Ebijuwa and Iyabo Mabawonku used a multi-stage sampling technique in two stages. The first stage was to select the facilities and the second stage was to select the departments in which to recruit students from. In total, 1,526 undergraduates from four faculties and three departments in the six federal universities in South-west were recruited for their study. A questionnaire was utilized to collect data. The authors also employed descriptive statistics of frequency counts, percentages, mean, standard deviation, correlation, and regression methods to obtain the results.
Findings and conclusions
The study found that undergraduates were using ELRs for a variety of reasons such as updating their knowledge on areas of interest, working on class assignments, and using electronic sources for school projects. In short, students are using the full range of ELRs for academic purposes. The findings showed that most students use ELRs on a weekly basis. The only demographic that showed a variation in usage of ELRs was age- not gender or discipline. The types of ELRs varied among colleges and disciplines, but students were actively using the electronic resources that their universities have.
What can American libraries learn from global practice about designing services for diverse populations?
American libraries can learn about designing services for diverse populations through this global study. Academic library staff need to help all students optimize their use of electronic library resources. Staff should check whatever biases they may have at the door and encourage their students to make use of all ELRs available to them. There should be no influence based on age or gender regarding the suggestions for these resources; likewise, students should use all resources equally and not favor one over the others. Motivation strategies can be introduced and should appeal to all. This is especially pertinent to diverse populations that encompass more than age and gender.
College professors should provide assignments to their students that address their classes’ diverse needs, which will require the use of ELRs for research and learning. In turn, academic libraries need to ensure that the ELRs they provide meet these needs and represent cultural competence and relevance. These resources should be marketed by the academic library staff to both faculty and students as relevant; students will be able to find their comfort level while researching, and faculty will remain assured that they can, in fact, send students to the library for the right information. Periodic assessments should be conducted to determine whether or not the ELRs are being used effectively.
Finally, universities should provide wider access of ELRs to their students and make these resources available outside of the library. When students are able to access their resources campus-wide through their wireless Internet connections, they can work remotely at a time and place that is convenient for them.