Availability, Accessibility and Utilization of Grey Literature for Quality Research by Postgraduate Students of University of Agriculture Makurdi.

Author:Kwaghga, Beetseh


The availability, accessibility and utilization of information of grey literature through an effective dissemination network represent a necessary pre-condition for the emergence of a crop of well-informed citizenry. Information must be available, adequate and accessible in order to be presented in a way that is acceptable to facilitate its acceptability, hence utilization. Thus, it is a vital commodity in every environment and its use is largely determined by its availability and accessibility.

However, availability of grey literature source does not necessarily translate to its accessibility, because the source may be available but access to it is prevented for one reason or the other (Shaariful 2012). Accessibility could mean authorization, opportunity, or right to access records or retrieve information from different sources of information such as internet, radio, posters, bulletins, newspapers, journals and libraries and information centres. Availability of information entails its provision and supply at the right quantity and time, while its utilisation refers to the practical and adequate use of resources and materials on information identified and acquired by user for the purpose as solving problem (Emasaelu, 2014). Therefore, accurate and credible information and its accessibility in whatever medium and quantity will be meaningless if it does not meet the need of the audience in terms of economic, social, political, cultural, scientific and technological considerations.

Osayand & Upebor (2012) Gyasi (2003) defines literature in its broad sense as 'anything that is written', while Rees (2007) sees it in the narrow sense of 'writing which expresses and communicate thought, feelings and attitudes towards life. Literature is thus summed up as permanent expression(s) in words (written or spoken), especially arranged in pleasing and accepted pattern or forms such as grey type.

The term "grey literature" is used to describe publications not published commercially or indexed by major database vendors. It is occasionally the sole source for specific research questions. Grey literature brings connotations of bleakness, apathy, indifference, and questionable authority to mind (Mason, 2009 & Popoola, 2000). Upon investigation, this is far from truth, unless you find research papers from eminent researchers to be boring. Grey literature has some connection to the brain's "grey matter" since so much of it seems highly intellectual and is significant for research and development in many subject areas.

Grey literature publications are important materials that libraries, especially academic libraries must acquire to support research. Although not rigorously peer reviewed, they contribute greatly to national development since they sometimes originate from scholars. Grey literature materials do not have any ISBN or ISSN and so cannot be easily tracked down or accessed by a large group of clients except some concerted efforts are made. This explains the reason why it is called grey. Grey is used to connote something that is not clear, wholly, that is different, while literature in this context means publications. This view was strongly supported by Mason (2007) who wrote that grey literature brings connotation of bleakness, apathy, indifference and questionable authority to mind. They are not controlled by commercial publishing interests because they are usually issued by government, academia, pressure groups, trade unions, industries etc. Grey literature materials are publications without commercial purpose; articles and information published especially on the Internet, without a commercial purpose or the mediation of a commercial publisher. Generally, they are materials which are not attainable through the conventional channels and not available through normal book selling channels used for research (Okoroma 2012; Weintraub, 2006).

Research is a process of arriving at dependable solutions to problems through planned and systematic collection, classification, analysis and interpretation of data. It is a logical way of finding solutions to an identified problem. Precisely; research is the application of scientific methods to problem-solving which involves careful observations, reliable measurement of phenomena, objective interpretation of facts, and validation of accepted theories or their revision based on new evidence. Research is aimed at finding solutions to the multifarious and multifaceted problems confronting us in various fields of endeavour. From the fore-going, the quest to know investigate, examine, study, explore, delve into, or make inquires about the unknown using a systematic approach is referred to as research Emaikwu (2015).

Quality research is the one that has a good research problem. Before any problem can be judged as a good problem, it must possess the following qualities: The topic must be researchable: Being researchable means that pertinent data for solving the problem are available and accessible. It also means that such research can be comprehensively carried out in replicated if need be Emaikwu (2013).

Quality research most commonly also refers to the scientific process encompassing all aspects of study design; in particular, it pertains to the judgment regarding the match between the methods and questions, selection of subjects...

To continue reading