The study was carried out to assess the utilization of Internet resources for research by Postgraduate (PG) business education students in Universities in South-East and South-South Nigeria. The resources covered include Internet enabled-electronic devices, Internet browsers, Internet search engines, social network sites, electronic mails services and electronic library resources. The study also sought to determine some of the challenges faced by the PG students in the utilization of Internet resources for research and the strategies that could enhance the effective utilization of the resources. Nine research questions were raised and answered for the study while eight null hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance. Seven universities made up of four Federal and three State Universities offering business education programme in S/E and S/S Nigeria were covered by the study. Descriptive survey research design was adopted in which structured questionnaire and Interview schedule were used for data collection. The population for the study comprised of 520 PG students of business education in the universities that offer business education programme in South-East and South-South Nigeria. This population was made up of 364 M.Ed students and 156 Ph.D students. However, the number that completed and returned the questionnaire were 436 comprised of 325 M.Ed and 111 Ph.D students. The research instruments were face-validated by three experts. Cronbach Alpha technique was used to ascertain the internal consistency of the questionnaire and a reliability coefficient of 0.96 was obtained. For data collection, the questionnaire and Interview schedule were administered by the researcher with the help of seven research assistants. Mean, standard deviation and t-test were the statistical tools employed for the analysis of data collected with the questionnaire, while the structured interview schedule was analyzed qualitatively. The real limit of the mean was used to answer the research questions while t-test was used to test the null hypotheses. The findings revealed that Internet resources were grossly under-utilized for research by PG business education students in Universities in South-East and South-South Nigeria. The study also revealed that there are numerous challenges found to be militating against the effective utilization of Internet resources for research by PG business education students. The challenges include: non-availability of various Internet resources, issues surrounding research process and activities; improper guidance for research process and activities, and lack of provision of fund for cost/power supply among others. Against the background, some strategies for enhancing the utilization of Internet resources for research by the PG business education students were identified by the study such as: provision of Internet ready computers in the Business education units in the universities that offer business education programme, and improvement/steady power supply to power the Internet enabled devices among others. The study, therefore, recommended among others, that there should be consistent orientation and re-orientation of the students with regard to research writing, Internet resources should be made adequately available and accessible in all the universities in Nigeria which can be achieved through collaborative efforts of the university authorities, government and non-governmental organizations; that universities that offer business education programmes through collaborative efforts with Network providers regularly organize seminar, workshops and training for business education students on the utilization of Internet resources for research and companies that produce and/or import the necessary Internet enabled-electronic devices should be encouraged to establish in Nigeria so that the cost of incurring or purchasing these devices will be reduced.
Background of the Study
The Internet has become a credible source of information for all purposes in all parts of the world. The volume of information obtained from the Internet depends on the ability of the user and the extent to which the Internet resources are used to search for the information. The Internet has also become a hub of information and daily consultation by different people for varied purposes in almost every country in the world. Around 40% of the world population now has an Internet connection as against 1% in 1995 (Internet Live Stats, ILS, 2015). According to the author, the number of Internet users has been on rapid growth with first billion users reached in 2005, the second billion users reached in 2010 and the third billion world users attained in 2014.
The Internet overview reports stated that the Internet is still growing at a good rate, but the growth rate is not the same all over the world. The statistical growth rate representation of Internet Users in the World distribution by World Region as at June 2015 reveals that Asia is the highest Internet users with 47.8% usage; followed by Europe with 18.5%; while the third world region of Latin America/Caribbean with 10.2%; North America
and Africa account for 4th position with 9.6% each. The Middle East account for the fifth position with 3.5% while the sixth position were Oceania/Australia as the least Internet users in the World with 0.8%. (Internet World Stats, 2015).