Scientific research in librarianship: a panacea for library development in Nigeria.

Author:Obaseki, Tony. I.


Research in librarianship is a core aspect of library education and any library school programme. Day (1997) observes that, "it is a means for students and librarians alike to investigate the cause and effect of phenomenon as it affects the profession and come out with possible solutions". It also allows students try out principles and theories they have learnt in the classroom.

Research is the arrival at a dependable solution to a problem through collection, analysis, and interpretation of data. Osuala (1993) says that, "it is the most important tool for advancing knowledge". Ochogwu (2007) states that "research is needed in various operational activities of the library profession, especially into why people do not consult the library." Research can be pure or basic, which is uses theories to investigate questions and phenomena, and applied research that uses accumulated data and knowledge to investigate a particular problem. Kpeke (1997) states that, "findings of a scientific research are powerful tools in national and curriculum planning". By implication the advancement of a discipline is based on the strength, types, and outcomes of research carried out and how these findings are judiciously put to use.

Research in librarianship investigations often discusses theoretical phenomena and findings rather than testing relationships between variables. In line with that, Ochogwu (2007) states that:

The library profession is full of assumptions about their services. It is often satisfied with the quality of resources provided. But a lot of studies have shown that these assumptions are very faulty. Meaningful empirical research studies will reveal problem areas with operational activities with a view of finding dependable solutions to them in other to enhance the development process

Oduwole and Ikhizana (2007) assert that, "research output in librarianship is poor, as fifty percent of the librarians sampled with up to ten years experience have no publications." They further argue that the growth and development of any profession depends on extensive research.

This does not augur well for librarianship, as the application of scientific findings in formulating strategies and policies is necessary to enhance library service. For research findings to be considered adequate, they must be based on evidence and experimentation. Osuala (1993) says that "experimentation is often confused with the scientific method by laymen who equate experimentation with physical science and further equate physical science with science itself". Despite its scientific rigors, experimentation is only one aspect of the scientific method...

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