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PROJECT TOPIC AND MATERIAL ON AN ASSESSMENT OF USES OF THE INTERNET BY FEMALE UNDERGRADUATES OF AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY ZARIA
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An assessment of uses of the Internet by female undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria is a survey that is meant to determine the behavior of female undergraduates of A.B.U Zaria towards the Internet and the purpose for which they use it. The study has five specific objectives among which include: to find out the behaviour of the female undergraduates of A.B.U. towards the Internet; to identify the purpose for which the Internet is used by the female undergraduates of A.B.U. and to determine the frequency of surfing the Internet by the respondents. Data was gathered using 1,200 questionnaires in the twelve faculties of the University. A systematic random sampling method was used to select the respondents from the faculties. The questionnaire was administered on the female undergraduates at each of the faculties and the results were collated and analysed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). The major findings of the study revealed that 74.1% of the female undergraduates of the university have interest, good perception and positive attitudes towards the uses of the Internet; 84.2% identified internet as an integral part of education; 81.7% said it is easier to use than the library and 56.7% said it is more informative than their lecturers. Also, 62.5% used it for educational purposes, 71.6% for communication, news and information; 69.1% used it for entertainment; 29% revealed daily use of the internet; 88.5% complained of slow and irregular internet connectivity and 65.1% lack adequate knowledge of websites related to their course of study. However, 91.9% of the respondents revealed that they had never uploaded any materials to the Internet. The study therefore recommended that the university should improve the quality of its Internet services; give proper orientation on the importance of good uses of the Internet; make current and relevant websites available to the students and upload course materials online especially in friendly websites and social networks that are frequently patronized by the students as this will facilitate on-line academic exchange.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Cover Page ——————————————————————- ————- i
Title Page ———————————————————————————- ii
Declaration ——————————————————————————– iii
Certification —————————————————————————— iv
Dedication ——————————————————————————– v
Acknowledgments ———————————————————————— vi
Table of Contents ————————————————————————- vii -x
List of Tables —————————————————————————– x
List of Figures —————————————————————————— xi
List of Acronyms/Abbreviations ——————————————————– xii
Abstract —————————————————————————————- xiii
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study ——————————————————————— 1 – 3
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem ——————————————————– 3 – 5
1.3 Research Questions ————————————————————————— 5 – 6
1.4 Aim/Objectives of the Study ————————————————————— 6
1.5 Significance of the Study ——————————————————————- 6 – 7
1.6 Scope of the Study ————————————————————————— 7 – 8
1.7 Limitations of the Study ——————————————————————— 8
1.8 Operational Definition ———————————————————————– 8 – 9
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Introduction ——————————————————————————– 10
2.2 Background On Demography and Patterns of the Internet uses ——————— 10 – 15
2.3 Conceptual Review ———————————————————————— 16
2.3.1 Undergraduates‘ Behavior Towards the Internet and Purpose of Using it —– 16 – 21
2.3.2 Frequency of Surfing the Internet and Common Search Engines Used By UG – 21 – 24
2.3.3 Constraints Faced By Undergraduates Using the Internet ————————– 24 – 25
2.4 Empirical Review ————————————————————————— 25 – 28
2.5 Gap in Knowledge ————————————————————————– 29
2.6 Theoretical Framework ——————————————————————– 30
2.6.1 Uses and Gratification Theory ——————————————————– 30 – 32
2.6.2 Critique of the Theory —————————————————————— 32
2.6.3 Theory Justification ———————————————————————- 33 – 34
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 Introduction ———————————————————————————- 35
3.2.1 Research Design ————————————————————————– 35
3.2.2 Study Area ——————————————————————————– 36 – 37
3.2.3 Study Variables ————————————————————————– 37
3.3 Population of the study ——————————————————————— 37 – 38
3.4.1 Sampling Technique ———————————————————————– 39
3.4.2 Sample Size ——————————————————————————– 39 – 40
3.5.1 Method of Data Collection ————————————————————— 41
3.5.2 Instrument for Data Collection ———————————————————- 41 – 42
3.5.3 Validity and Reliability —————————————————————— 42
3.5.4 Pilot Study ——————————————————————————— 42 – 43
3.6 Method of Data Analysis —————————————————————— 43
CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
4.1 Introduction ———————————————————————————– 44
4.2 Data Presentation —————————————————————————- 44 – 54
4.3 Discussion of Findings ———————————————————————- 54 – 62
CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1 Introduction ———————————————————————————– 63
5.2 Summary ————————————————————————————– 63 – 74
5.3 Conclusion ———————————————————————————— 74 – 75
5.4 Contribution to Knowledge —————————————————————– 75 – 76
5.5 Recommendations ————————————————————————— 76 – 77
5.6 Suggestion for further studies ————————————————————– 78
REFERENCES ———————————————————————————– 79 – 86
Appendix I: Letter of Introduction from the Department ———————————— i
Appendix II: Questionnaire ———————————————————————- ii – iv
LIST OF TABLES
Table 4.1 Distribution of Questionnaire according to faculties ———————- 46
Table 4.2 The behavior of the respondents towards the uses of the Internet—– 47
Table 4.3 The respondents purpose of using the Internet —————————– 49
Table 4.4 The methods used by the respondents for searching the Internet ——– 51
Table 4.5 The Internet Access points used by the respondents ———————– 52
Table 4.6 The Constraints faced by the respondents using the Internet ———— 53
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 4.1: The level of the respondents —————————————– 44
Figure 4.2: The age of the respondents ——————————————– 45
Figure 4.3: The websites frequently visited by the respondents ————– 50
Figure 4.4: The rate at which the respondents use the Internet ————– 52
LIST OF ACRONYMS/ABBREVIATIONS
1. ABU – Ahmadu Bello University
2. ARPANet – Advanced Research Project Agency Network
3. ICTs – Information and Communication Technologies
4. IWS – Internet World Statistics
5. FCT – Federal Capital Territory
6. UNCTAD – United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
7. IES – Internet Effect Scale
8. ICTD – Information and Communication Technology Directorate
9. WDS – Wireless Distribution System
1.1 Background to the Study
The Internet is a network of hundreds of thousands of computers all over the world, connected in a way that lets other computers access information from them. So if a computer is connected to the Internet, in principle, it can be connected to any other computer on the network. Today, the Internet comprises more than 45,000 regional, national and international networks, which connect more than 30 million people in over 200 countries. The networks include organizations, schools, universities, companies, governments, groups and individuals (Gray, 1999).The Internet began in 1969 as ARPANet (Advanced Research Project Agency Network) by the United States Department of Defense to share military intelligence and research with university sources. The Internet has since the 1990s become a widely-used civilian tool for communication, research, entertainment, education and advertisement (Hinson and Amidu, 2006).
The history of the Internet has long been linked to university education. This is because the adoption of the Internet in university system has intensified access to information and communication by providing un-reserved access to e-mail messages, web boards, online services and e-publications.In practice, much of the recent focus of technological development in Nigerian Universities has been concerned with promoting the use of the Internet as a teaching and learning tool. Internet is appealing to Universities for a number of reasons: it reduces the time lag between the production and utilization of knowledge; it promotes international cooperation and exchange of opinions; it furthers the sharing of information; and promotes multidisciplinary research.
Since the Internet‘s infancy, higher education institutions have pioneered many innovations (Cookson, 2000). According to Bates (1996:47), ―information technologies integral to the Internet have allowed higher education to (1) expand access to education and training, (2) raise quality, (3) lower costs, and (4) increase cost-effectiveness‖. Internet-related technologies have also enabled higher education institutions to: (5) expand the number of courses and programs, (6) generate higher levels of tuition-based revenues, (7) develop specialized programs of study that would not otherwise be possible, and (8) use the process of technological innovation as a vehicle for revitalization of other aspects of their operations (Daniel, 1996).It can therefore be said that the Internet is one of the new technologies that support and promote the technological revolution that has taken place in education.
However, in Nigerian universities and tertiary institutions, there have been concerns on the possible effects of daytime and sometimes all-night Internet browsing on reading time among students. Some studies, for example, Oji (2007) cited in Margaret and Eric (2010:16) has highlighted the growing incidences of students using the Internet not necessarily for academic purposes, but for anti-social activities such as racketeering, blackmail, fraud and pornography. This probably explains why cybercafés patronised by students in many Nigerian cities and towns are often raided by law enforcement officials. Ojedokun (2006:46) pointed out that,―many students use the Internet mostly or only to search and retrieve information on entertainment, sports and news, and attributes this trend to lack of necessary searching skills for effective usage‖.
Jones (2002:16), in a research carried out on the Internet and African life, found that ―university undergraduates use the Internet more to communicate socially than they do for academic work‖.Thus, whereas, the Internet offers information and systems of instruction that complement the traditional ways that students study and learn, some students seem to be preoccupied with it essentially for activities that entertain rather than educate.
Another contending issue related to the use of the Internet and the behaviour of the users towards it, is the issue of gender disparity in the Internet and the purpose of using it.For instance, Brunner and Bennett (1998:24) observed that, ―male and female students differ significantly in terms of their attitude towards the Internet‖.On a similar study, a review of the literature concerning the Internet usage among the Americans revealed that the once stark gap between the male and the female is closing rapidly, but disparities remain in the purposes for which males and females use the Internet (Odell, Korgen, Schumacher, andDelucchi,2001 cited in Ozoemelem, 2010:18).
This therefore means, with the rapid increase in the Internet access in Nigerian universities and tertiary institutions where the male and female students surf the internet through cyber cafes, wireless hotspot, modems and mobile phones, there is the need to study the behavior of the students towards the Internet as well as the purpose for which they use the Internet.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
The use of the internet for research and studies in the university is now a thing of necessity world-wide, and having access and a positive attitude toward the use of the Internet is a necessary condition for its effective use (Sylvester, 2011). Similarly, it is important to establish the students‘ attitudetowards any new technology because it will assist universities to know if they are meeting the needs of students effectively (OECD, 2005).
Findings of previous studies carried out in some universities and tertiary institutions revealed a widespread assumption that female students use the internet for communication purposes, for fashion and shopping reasons and that they are less frequent or intense users of the internet. Also, there is a controversy in the findings of studies related to the female students‘ attitudes and behaviour towards the internet. Some asserts that female students exhibit less favorable or negative attitudes towards the internet while others posit that female students possessed positive attitudes towards the internet. Meanwhile, the female students, as mothers or would-be mothers, depending on their attitude and purpose of using the Internet, have the potential of changing the future of the technological level of the society as they are directly involved in the training of next generation of people and thereby have the opportunity to implement the utilization of the Internet into the Nigerian society, particularly amongst children who are the future of the society. If they have a good behavior towards the uses of the Internet then the level and skills of Internet adaptation in our society will be brighter and if otherwise, then there is the urgent need to reorient and redirect their thinking.
It is in consideration of the enormous importance and necessity of computer and the Internet in education for all that many Nigerian universities, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria inclusive, are out to develop and boost their Information and Communication Technology sector. Hence, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria has established its own university e-library (MTN University Connect) and the Internet wireless services on its campuses mainly for educational purposes. Meanwhile, the students have other several ways of accessing the Internet such as through the prepaid cyber cafes, modems and mobile phones among others. For instance, the researcher observed that in A.B.U., more female students have access to mobile Internet gadgets such as mobile phones, iphone, ipad and other devices which provide easier access to the Internet.
This therefore means that, although providing internet facilities and or having access to it is important, studying and analyzing the users‘ behaviors towards it as well as the purpose of using it is equally important. Hence, while universities like A.B.U. are trying to build the Internet, a valuable teaching and learning tool, it is necessary for them to understand their students‘ behaviour towards its applications. Also, they need to find out the purposes for which their female students in particular are using the Internet; whether they use it for communication, for entertainment and fashion, for academic purposes, for correspondences or for business and social purposes.
1.3 The Research Questions
The following research questions were set out to generate data for the study:
1. What is the behavior of female undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria towards the uses of the Internet?
2. For what purpose do the female undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria use the Internet?
3. What are the Internet search engines and access points used by the female undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria?
4. How often do the female undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria surf the Internet?
5. What are the constraints faced by the female undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria using the Internet?
1.4 Aim/Objectives of the Study
This study aims at determining the behavior of female undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria towards the Internet and the purpose which they use it for. The specific objectives are as follows:
1. To find out the behavior of female undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria towards the Internet usage.
2. To identify the purpose for which the Internet is used by female undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.
3. To identify the search engines/access points mostly used by female undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.
4. To determine the frequency of surfing the Internet by the respondents.
5. To find out the constraints faced by female undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria using the Internet.
1.5 Significance of the Study
In the existing body of literature on the uses of the Internet reviewed by the researcher, not many and specific studies have been conducted in relation to the behaviour and purpose of the uses of the Internet by female undergraduates in Nigerian universities. The few ones available such as that of Salam (2003) and Achounye & Olele (2009) among others studied the gender differences among the male and female students in the universities. In Ahmadu Bello University Zaria for example, the Internet usage among female undergraduates have never been examined in any previous studies. This therefore indicates the gap in knowledge of the study.
This study is further justified in the sense that Ahmadu Bello University Zaria is among the Nigerian Universities that encourages the use of the Internet for academic purposes among its staff and students alike. Hence, the University has established its own e-library, Internet wireless services among others in its campuses. It is in line with this that the researcher carried out this study to find out the behaviour of the female undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria towards the uses of the Internet.
The management of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria will be the primary beneficiaries of the findings of this study considering the huge amount of money and efforts they use in building the Internet facilities on the campus, the efforts they put in encouraging the use of the Internet for academic purposes and their eminent contributions towards bridging the gender gap in education and ICT usage.
Other beneficiaries of the study will include female empowerment campaigners, who over the years have been in the forefront of campaigns for equity in the education of women in the country. So also, the Internet advertisers can use the findings of the study for their decision making for online advert placement.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study will cover the female undergraduates of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. However, only a sample of their total population will be used to make generalizations. Thus, the sample will be drawn from the twelve faculties of the university. The rationale behind selecting female undergraduates is because it is at their level that foundation of university education is laid and it is also at this level that women who will work in different works of life and women activists that help to liberate other women generations yet to come from domination are produced. The researcher observed that in the university more female students have access to mobile Internet gadgets such as mobile phones, iphone, ipad and other devices which provide easier access to the Internet. The female undergraduates, as mothers or mothers to be, depending on their attitude and purpose of using the Internet, have the potential to change the future of the technological level of the society as they are directly involved in the training of next generation of people. They have the opportunity to implement the utilization of the Internet into the Nigerian society, particularly amongst children who are the future of the society. If they have a good behavior towards the uses of the Internet then the level and skills of Internet adaptation in our society will be brighter and if otherwise, then there is the urgent need to reorient and redirect their thinking.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
The questionnaire was administered during examination period therefore having the attention of the respondents was difficult for the researcher.
1.8 Operational Definitions
i. Behavior – in the context of this study means feeling, perception or attitudinal dispositions of a certain group towards a particular thing.
ii. Perception/Attitude – in this study means opinion or way of thinking and understanding of the female undergraduates towards the internet.
iii. Access point – in this study means the device or way through which one surfs the Internet. For instance, it could be through subscription modem, cyber cafes, wireless hotspots, e-library and mobile Internet like devices like i-phone, ipad and other devices which provide easier access to the Internet.
iv. A.B.U –is used several times in this study and it means Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
v. Search engine – in this study it refers to the method of information searching in the internet.
vi. Female Undergraduates –as it is used in this study means all female students in the university from 100 level to 400 or 500 level.