The use of library resources by doctoral students of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, College of Humanities, Pietermaritzburg campus.
Idoniboye-Obu, Tamunotonye Ibimina.
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The purpose of this study was to examine the use of library resources by doctoral students of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), College of Humanities, Pietermaritzburg campus. The study investigated the extent of the use of the library resources by doctoral students in the College of Humanities, the type of library resources used and the factors that influenced such use. The study also looked at the competency of doctoral students to use them. The study population consisted of registered doctoral students in the College of Humanities as at April 2012 when the data was collected. Out of a total of 118 questionnaires distributed, 99 doctoral students responded, which yielded a response rate of 83.9%. The method that the research took was triangulation where both qualitative and quantitative data were collected. The researcher used one-on-one interviews with subject librarians at the UKZNP Library and a questionnaire as data collection instruments. The quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS version 21, while the qualitative data was analyzed using thematic content analysis. The questionnaire was pre-tested before it was used. The findings of the study revealed that a majority of the doctoral students did use the UKZNP Library resources for their research studies. As regards the importance of the library resources, out of 98 respondents who responded to the question, 77 (78.6%) of the respondents indicated that their use of library resources was because of its importance to their research study. Regarding the dependency on library resources, out of 98 respondents who responded to the question, 60 (61.2%) respondents said their extent of use of the library‟s resources was because they were very dependent on the resources of the library for their research study. In terms of usage of the library‟s resources, out of the 99 respondents who responded to the question, 50 (53.8%) said they use the library‟s resources more for their research study. When investigating the types of library resources used by doctoral students in the College of Humanities, 85 (86.7%) respondents used electronic databases, while 77 (78.6%) used print materials (books and journals); 68 (69.4%) used the inter-library loan service and 60 (61.2%) used theses and dissertations amongst other resources. With regards to the influencing factors for such use of library resources by doctoral students in the College of Humanities, the study found that 93 (97.9%) influencing factors for the respondents was to borrow materials, like printed books and journal articles, for their research studies, while for 52 (54.7%) respondents, a factor was to use inter-library loan services for their research studies and for 38 (40.0%) it was to search the databases for information for their research studies. Furthermore, the study also wanted to determine how competent the doctoral students in the College of Humanities were in using the different library resources of the UKZNP Library. Out of 99 respondents, 79 (79.8%) considered themselves to be competent users of the different library resources with particular reference to electronic resources, while 16.2 (16.2%) considered themselves not to be competent and four (4.0%) did not respond to the question. Having seen the extent of use of the library resources by doctoral students in the College of Humanities, the type of resources the doctoral students used, the factors that influenced such use and the competency of use, the study also discovered that there were challenges that these doctoral students encountered while using the library‟s resources. Some of these challenges were: difficulties in locating resources on shelves as a result of the misplaced and disorganized arrangement of material; out of date printed resource material and insufficient time for borrowing books on reserve. With electronic databases, some of the challenges were that important journals and books were not available electronically, remote access was difficult because of passwords and logins, and some electronic databases only offer abstracts rather than full text articles. In addition, electronic databases were often very slow to conclude searches. A final challenge encountered by the doctoral students was that subject librarians were always very busy attending to students and sometimes not available to help. Recommendations based on the findings of the study were also presented in chapter five and six of this study. Suggestions on how the library can better serve the doctoral students of the UKZNP campus were also given in the concluding chapter.
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