The changing role of researchers in Nigeria: the Internet as an alternative future to modernity.

Author:Kamba, Manir Abdullahi
Position::Report
 
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Introduction

It is commonly believed that researchers and students in Nigerian higher education institutions are battling the problem of inadequate and out-of-date materials. It could be argued that the only way to pursue knowledge is through research; however, research is changing. The Internet a developmental agent having a profound impact on the research process and dissemination of information. Rosenberg (2001) remarks that "the internet is the most remarkable technological breakthrough of the 1990s ... and it will continue to play an important role in transforming higher education."

Developing countries, particularly in Africa, have difficulty accessing materials from developed countries because of distance and financial limitations among other things. Ng'etich (2003) notes that "socio-economic and technological changes ushered in by globalization demand that researchers devise new ways of addressing emerging research challenges" The Internet has introduced new form of learning material in which the dispersal of knowledge becomes easy, quick, and with minimal cost.

In spite of the Internet, Nigerian researchers have continued to depend on traditional ways of doing research. This dependency on traditional methods is contributing to the low level of research output in Nigeria.

Internet Connectivity in Nigeria

Many authors have written about Internet connectivity in Nigeria. According to Adeya and Oyeyinka (2002:10) the level of access and connectivity is far below that of developed countries. Nigeria as a whole has only two percent of the Internet connectivity in the developed world. This is improving as a result of many universities and other institutions achieving direct access either through telecommunication or VSAT (wireless). As access grows, Nigerian researchers, scholars, and the general public have the opportunity to undertake research, teaching, learning, and other activities via the Internet.

Manir (2007) reported that most of higher education institutions in Nigeria are connected with the Internet via VSAT facilities with Pamsat at their university computer centers. Most of universities have a base station with at least a 150 foot mast/sectoral antenna that supplies service around campus. With installation of VSAT, the use of the Internet for research has skyrocketed, as it has with the existence of many private and independent Internet cafes in the cities.

Internet as a Medium of Research

With the introduction of the Internet, Nigerian researchers...

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