A Survey of the Information Need and Information Seeking Behaviour of Secondary School Students in Lagelu Local Government of Oyo State,

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1. Background to the study

Information is generally useful in many areas and has to do with becoming informed and reducing a users’ level of ignorance and uncertainty. According to Burk and Horton (1988), information can be considered as an external entity with an objective nature, or that which informs or has the potential to inform; or a combination of content or meaning represented by symbols and media or conduit, used or usable in a particular context... In a highly structured and complex world, the need for information is felt at all levels of the society regardless of an individual’s location, social condition or intellectual achievement. Belkin (1978) says information is that which is capable of transforming image structure. Paisley (1980) also defines information as any stimulus that alters the cognitive structure of a receiver, while Krikelas (1983) refers to it as any stimulus that reduces uncertainty.

Secondary Education is the stage of education following primary school. It is generally the final stage of compulsory education. Depending on the system of education in a particular country, schools for this period may be called secondary schools, high schools, colleges and grammar schools. The means of funding these schools could be free education or fee-paying education. The style of education may be day school, boarding or virtual school which is rarely practiced in Nigeria.

Education has become a crucial facet of national development, especially here in Nigeria where the level of illiteracy, examination malpractices, crimes and unemployment are still very high. This is as a result of the fact that no education system can rise above the quality of teachers. Students obtain information to make them better in life, self-reliant and self-sufficient. They also need some important skills to enable them solve problems. Insufficient access to information can affect students’ performances which may lead to inability to use new teaching technical equipment in laboratory. This in turn results in the poor performance of students in their various examinations such as West African Senior Examination (WASSCE), National Examination Council (NECO) and Joint Matriculation Examination.

The amount of information accessible by students can go a long way in determining his or her performances and success in life issues. According to Heads and Isenberg, students need information for a number of things which cannot be over emphasized such as educational information, e.g., findings about related subjects, information for individuals or someone close to them, purchasing information for a product or a service, work or career information, information on other classical schools, travel and trip planning information, spiritual information, such as finding about different religious beliefs, attitude and performance of students and teachers in other schools, social contacts, e.g., using social network sites to find others, domestic life, e.g., checking out a friend or neighbor, information related to what I am asked to do at school, searching for experts of some kind, e.g., medical doctor, etc.

This is a situation that is proposed to be common among students everywhere especially at the Lagelu Local government area of Oyo state. In sufficient access to information could lead students to examination malpractices and inexperience in handling of technical, learning and laboratory equipment. The resultant effect could be poor performances in examinations, both internal, that is those composed by their teachers, and external examinations such as WASSCE, Joint Matriculation Examination. It is therefore essential not only to study the info needs and seeking behaviour of students in Lagelu Local government area of Oyo state, but also to look at how information can be used to effect a change in the learning processes of the students for the benefit of our country....
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