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Information literacy self-efficacy in the use of electronic information resources by library and information science postgraduate students in South South Nigeria.

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This study was carried out to investigate information literacy self-efficacy (ILSE) in the use of Electronic Information Resources (EIRs) by Library and Information Science Postgraduate Students in South-South, Nigeria. Three universities accredited by the National University Commission to offer postgraduate programmes in Library and Information Science in South-South, Nigeria were studied. The universities are: Delta State University, Abraka; University of Uyo, Uyo and University of Calabar, Calabar.The objectives of this study were guided by the five research questions:What information literacy skills do postgraduate students have to use electronic information resources? What is the relationship between postgraduate students’ information literacy self-efficacy and their use of electronic information resources? What are students’ usage patterns of electronic information resources? What are the barriers related to information literacy that hinder postgraduate students from using electronic information resources? How can information literacy self-efficacy be enhanced amongst library and information science postgraduate students? The study was informed by post-positivism research paradigm and applied Kuhlthau (2004)Information Search Process (ISP) model anchored on social constructivism approach.The mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative approach) were employed. The population for the study consisted of 115 postgraduate students admitted for the 2016/2017 academic year and 3 subject librarians at the three universities. A survey questionnaire was used to solicit quantitative data from the postgraduate students, while an interview was used to solicit qualitative data from the subject librarians. Quantitative and qualitative data collected were analysed using statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) and thematic content analysis (TCA) respectively. The SPSS was specifically used to generate frequency counts, percentage and descriptive statistics.The study adhered to the ethical standards of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The findings revealed that the use of EIRs is determined by the competency in information literacy. Findings further showed that tool literacy, critical literacy, social-structural literacy, emerging technology literacy and publishing literacy determine postgraduate students’ use of EIRs. The study further revealed that there is a strong relationship between information literacy self-efficacy skills and the use EIRs as information literacy self-efficacy skills have impacted on postgraduate students’ usage of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) components, especially those related to the use of EIRs such as the use of a computer and its software and applications. The usage patterns of EIRs were determined through the frequency and purpose of using EIRs. Findings indicated that e-journals, e-books, e-newspapers and e-reference sources were the most frequently used EIRs by the postgraduate students. Results also indicated that EIRs were used for different academic purposes. The study provides new insight into barriers faced by postgraduate students while using EIRs. Details of the findings revealed that postgraduate students were faced with information literacy related barriers such as information overload, difficulties in downloading, credibility of information and a lack of adequate knowledge of Information Technology (IT).Furthermore, the study revealed that a number of strategies such as the introduction of IL related courses, adequate orientation to the library and its resources, mastery experience (the use of personal past experience to a particular task), sharing experiences relating to information literacy, strategic training on information literacy self-efficacy and constructive feedback could be employed to enhance postgraduate ILSE skills. The study concludes that the intricacy of the electronic atmosphere requires that postgraduate students possess ILSE skills to effectively and efficiently use EIRs. Therefore, the study recommends among others that universities introduce programmes such as IL certificate programmes, workshops, seminars and others that would increase information literacy of postgraduate students. Moreover, it is recommended that the Nigerian Library Association (NLA) should be involved in advocacy for IL as well as lobby for the incorporation of IL in the curriculum to promote information literacy skills. This study has implications for policy, practice and theory as policy makers and university management can apply a set of recommendations from this research study to formulate policies that would be beneficial for the enhancement of ILSE skills among undergraduate and postgraduate students. Similarly, the current study contributes to the body of knowledge from the perspective of postgraduate students’ ILSE skills in using EIRs. Furthermore, the strength of the ISP model adopted for this study was re-affirmed as its constructs adequately addressed the entire research questions formulated for this study.


Doctor of Philosophy in Information Studies. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2018.