The internet is now widely used as a communication channel. It is a twentieth century information resource leverage medium designed for everyone. Data on the internet are interchangeably called online information, web resources, e-resources and so forth. Many research groups have set up websites and gopher sites summarizing their areas of study. As a result, the internet has become one of the most important channels of communication of our time, a powerful tool in searching for, retrieving, disseminating and improved utilization of information (Unagha, 2008; Penny, 2006).
Thanuskodi (2010) has observed that as sources of information available via the internet are increasing exponentially, internet use for education and for research is also on the increase. In the academic perspective, the internet host and allow access to subject gateways, databases and professional websites which contain various types of scholarly resources like electronic copies of journals, articles, books, datasets, short communications, formula, monographs, encyclopaedia, dictionaries, instructional notes, informative web-pages, with numerous links to search and research related websites. Hence, researchers all over the world are taking advantage of the internet (Bamigboye and Ojo, 2010; Agarwal and Dave, 2009; Mariyappagoudar and Jayashree (2000).
The above notwithstanding, this study aims at investigating the claims of student some Nigerian students respondents in recent studies by Nigerian scholars that they use internet services more for research than for other reasons(Ilo and Ifijeh, 2010; Fasae and Aladenyi, 2012; Oyedun, 2007; Salaam and Adegbore, 2010; Ibegwam, 2004;). Since these studies that produced this claim were based mainly on the respondents perceptions, no one is sure if the students actually used the internet for research writings or not. This study therefore aims at establishing how the internet has influenced academic research at the graduate level. This done through, a citation analysis of the Theses and Dissertations (TDs), which are submitted annually by these students in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degrees. This study also seeks to find out if there is an actual relationship between Nigerian students' claim of internet use during research as reported in previous studies and the actual evidence in their final research project, using Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, post graduate students as a case-study.
Brief Information on Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike
Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU) is one of the academic institutions in the Eastern part of Nigeria that offer among other programmes post graduate courses in agricultural sciences and allied fields. The institution was established in 1994. It is located in Umudike, one of the neighbouring towns in the capital city of Abia State. The institution is one of the three federal universities in Nigeria mandated to focus on teaching, learning and research on agriculture. Presently inside the campus, internet connectivity is possible through the university's National Communication Commission (NCC) wireless fidelity (WIFI) satellite dish and also from a commercial service provider (AfriHub International) resident on campus and operating under agreement with the university. However, the internet speed is very slow and has been a source of complain by both students and staff within the university community. Yet, with patience and luck of not encountering too many users of the bandwidth at a go, meaningful searches and downloads are still made. So, with few months close to its twentieth year of existence, MOUAU has contributed to the quantum of academic research in Nigeria and across the globe with about eighty percent (80%) of her entire faculties running postgraduate programmes in some of their departments. (http://www.mouauregistry.com/progdeptlist.aspx).
Objectives of the Study
This research has the main objective of at establishing the extent of use of sources available on the internet for research writing by post graduate students. Specifically, the objectives of the research are:
- To find out the quantity of internet sources in Post graduate research works submitted to MOUAU library in relation to print resources.
- To find out the post graduate research class that used internet information resources in their final research work more than the others.
- To find out the class of post graduate research work that has the highest ratio of internet sources in its reference.
- To make recommendations to MOUAU library vis-a-vis the utilization of internet information resources.
Review of Relevant Literature
The use of the internet information resources for research has been reported in various studies. Agarwal and Dave (2009) studied the use of internet by the scientists and researcher fellows of Central Arid Zone Research Institute and report that the students depended on the internet as a veritable source of research information. Thanuskodi (2010) has studied health science researchers' use of internet in the course of research and reports massive use of this source. Kumar and Kaur (2006) reports that the internet resources are now preferred source of research information to the print resources among teacher and...