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The purpose of this work was to study utilization of serials publications by post graduate students for research in two federal university libraries in South East Nigeria. The researcher selected university of Nigeria Nsukka and Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka. The purpose of the study were to find out serials materials available, students objectives for using them, their extent of utilizing serials, the problems encountered and to proffer strategies for improvement. The population of the study was made up of eight thousands, five hundred and twenty (8520) post graduate students from the two universities for 2009\ 2010 academic year. The sample size was made up of eight hundred and sixty eight (868) from the two universities. Descriptive survey interview and observation check list were used to collect data from the respondents. The data was analyzed using frequency table and mean scores. From conclusion we are made to know that post graduate students realized the importance of serials publications in research work. In spite of the fact that these students realized the importance of serials publications in research work, these students are not satisfied with available serials publications in libraries. Some of the recommendations made were provision of access tools like indexes, abstracts, bibliographies, and the use of ICT to facilitate and to enhance the accessibility of serials. User education programmes to be used for the impartation of skills essential for effective utilization of serials. The use of SDI services to encourage the use of serials among researchers.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Serials include publications of indefinite duration which appear in series or regularly. As the name implies it is a publication that is constituted by appearing regularly with distinctive title and issued in successive parts, bearing numerical or chronological designation and intended to be continued indefinitely. However, serials are known to be direct and accurate in dealing with any subject area designed purely for teaching, learning and research. Most serials indicate the subject coverage of the document with dates and numbers. Characteristics of serials publications are: They have a remarkable propensity for change. Serials are issued on a continuing basis, often with a regular frequency (e.g. Annual, monthly, etc). Many serials do not have a title page. Instead, the title is found on the cover or at the beginning of the text. This is particularly the case with periodicals (magazines, journals etc.) and newsletters. Serials have designations numbers or dates or combinations of both that distinguish the individual issues. Serials do not usually have personal authors. Most persons associated with serials are editors or compliers. Serials are more often the work of one or more corporate bodies that have “issued” the serial. Serials titles are often given in more than one place in the issue and sometimes in different forms. Serials are often related to other serials, as earlier or later titles, companions, sections, language editions, translations, etc. Serials may also be related to monographs. Serials may have supplements, indexes, reprints, or special issues or may, themselves be a supplement index, reprint or special issue. Because serials are issued continuously, the information presented on them may change. Such changes may be in the title, issuing body, form of numbering frequency, size and physical appearance, or just about anywhere else.
Serials as publication in any medium issued in successive parts, with numerical or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely. Serials are those library materials that are published and issued in successive parts, with chronological or numerical designation intended to be continued indefinitely.
(Miller 1980; Ogbonna and Okenyi, 2006).
The importance of serials to post graduate students in their academic research is very crucial as they provide the most up-to-date and current information in their areas of their specially. Serials contain current and up-to-date information, which are very important for research and also provide the latest idea. They support and supplement school subjects and provide information on topics not well covered in the textbooks. Serials supply additional information or materials when the reader has exhausted all information in the available books he can fine on the subject. They contain articles contributed by different people on different issues, and as such grant an individual access to a variety of stand points in different disciplines.
Serials help students to weigh different view points and so arrive at sound opinion. They expose students to panorama of viewpoint. The students in this sense are endowed with unparallel knowledge such that they are no longer a servant of a single dogma but master over an empire of knowledge. Serials provide to the students accurate information quickly and in depth particularly on topics of current concern stimulate the growth of new interest and hobbies in areas like sport. They complement books available in the library because of the current information they supply.
Serials publications represent an important source of information and knowledge for all categories of users. Serials information comes from academic, religious, cultural, political, social environmental and entertainment issues. They also help to disseminate and exchange information between authors and readers. By this, new knowledge becomes available for further research. Serials are therefore essential for research as they contain current information. Aina (1988) pointed out that serials are particularly as a means of keeping students, teachers and researchers up-to-date in their field. In any government approved library, serials are primary sources of information thus; they are highly valued in great demand by students and lecturers alike and utilized by all.
Gadsby (2000) defines utilization as, to make use of something for a particular purpose. Serials utilization is a way post graduate students make use of available serials publications in their academic research. The concern of this study is to examine to what extent post graduate students make use of the intellectual contents of serials publications in their research work.
Attenberg (1987) defines a post graduate student as one who engages in advanced academic studies after graduation from high school or college pertaining to such student or studies. Post graduate students are being considered as special people who need serials most in their research work due to their maturity in area off specially. Most post graduate students are already in academic institutions, so for this notion, they need current information from serials not only to accomplished the task of their projects but also for article publications and growth. Serials are the most current vehicles of new ideas, knowledge and break through in scientific development for this group of students. Serials are very important among researchers, scholars and post g graduate students who are pursuing their masters and doctoral studies in diverse areas.
Research, in general, has to do with any enquiry into the unknown. It is the search for solutions to problems or answers to questions. Going by this, many activities of the individual, in the course of his day to day functioning, can be described as research in a sense. For instance, providing answers to questions relating to the background of your finance, or how best to feed your family, etc. When research employs a systematic approach the scientific method – it is said to be scientific research or investigation. Indeed every field of human endeavor involves research but not in all fields is the scientific method employed. In other words, not every research qualifies as scientific research investigation. Educational research, however, qualifies as scientific research or investigation in so far as it adopts the scientific method. Educational research, therefore, is a systematic approach to the solution of educational problems. It involves the application of scientific method in finding solutions to educational problems Nworgu (2006).
University libraries since the range of the entire university programme starts from freshmen to the doctoral candidates who are engaged in research, the university libraries try to offer services of innumerable range. They therefore offer more of general collection of materials of common interest to several fields from the most recent to those of historical value. Their collection include general and specialized reference materials, research materials such as incunabula, (first editions), manuscripts, papers, letters, museum objects, and historical maps, publications of federal, state, local and foreign governments as well as those of the United Nations, research reports, thesis, dissertations, archives, microforms, disc, tape recordings, films, sound tracks language laboratories video tapes, listening and viewing apparatus, computers and other machines Eze et al (2004).
Statement of the Problem:
Serials by their nature are very useful sources of information for all researchers and students in any field of study. This is because they contain current information on various subject areas and different fields of knowledge. In addition they bear the state of the art information on various researches carried out. Serials are known to be direct and accurate in dealing with any subject of the area designed purely for teaching, learning and research.
If the needed serials are not readily available, it may affect the level of utilization by the students and in turn the students can not get required information necessary to enrich their research work. The post graduate students may not be able to access current information for their research work. Considering the importance of serials in providing current information and for the fact that post graduate students may not utilized them adequately, the researcher intended to look into how postgraduate students make use of intellectual contents of serials, publications in their research work, since no research has been carried out on serials utilization by post graduate students in UNN and NAU libraries.
The problem of this study therefore is to determine utilization of serials publications by post graduate students for research in two federal university libraries in South East Nigeria.
Purpose of the Study:
The purpose of this study is to examine the utilization of serials publications by postgraduate students for research in two federal University libraries in South East Nigeria. Especially the study would specifically attempt to:
1. Find out the serials materials available to postgraduate students for research in two federal university libraries of South East Nigeria.
2. Inquire into students objectives in using these serials in university libraries.
3. Establish their extent of utilizing these serials in their academic work.
4. Find out their extent of satisfaction in the use serials in their academic work.
5. Look into the problems that hinder the student’s use of serials in these university libraries.
6. Proffer strategies that could enhance students’ use of serials in these university libraries.
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:
1. What are the serials materials available to postgraduate students for research university libraries?
2. What are the objectives of the postgraduate students in using serials in their research work?
3. To what extent do the postgraduate students utilize these serials in their academic work?
4. To what extent are the postgraduate students satisfied in the use of serials in their academic work?
5. What are the problems that hinder the students in use of serials in these university libraries?
6. What strategies could enhance students in use of serials in these University libraries?
Significance of the Study:
The study will be significant in many ways, considering the importance of serials in teaching and learning including research in academic institutions. The study will be of great significance to librarians. This is because the findings of the study will reveal to them how important serials are to their library users and this will enable them work towards making adequate provision to ensure adequate serials availability to boost utilization.
Moreover, the librarians will discover the best ways possible for the effective organization of serials in university libraries.
The findings of the study will also be an eye opener to researchers like students and lecturers in institution alike. This will enable them to discover the different serials publications that endeavor to make their research work easier.
The research work will also be of immense help to other research fellows carrying out studies in similar areas of knowledge serials availability and usage. This is by providing information for their own researches as it will not only help in enhancing their work but will also provide a reference point for further research.
Scope of the Study:
The study is about the utilization of serials by postgraduate students for research in two Federal University Libraries in south East Nigeria. The libraries of University of Nigeria Nsukka and Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka were selected for the study. The study examined the utilization of the existing serials publications utilization by post graduate students in the two universities.
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