Determinants of Research Information Seeking and Usage: A Case of Postgraduate Students at the University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Kotoroi, Gladness Lucas
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Research information is a variety of information required by a researcher who needs to conduct a scientific inquiry on how to select, formulate and develop a research theme of a subject matter in relation to the identified problem within a well-designed methodological framework (Bailey, 2014). Being an assortment of information, it is obtained from individual needs of the researcher and various information sources embedded within the necessities for new knowledge in order to expand or validate the already known information through the process of research information seeking (RIS). The purpose of this study was to investigate on key determinants of postgraduate students’ research information seeking and usage at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in order establish appropriate ways for exploring research information and how the new knowledge gained in form of research findings can practically be shared and utilized for further developments. The study used a sense-making theory to inform the study. The descriptive research design was used. The study used a target population of 1043 Masters’ students, from which a sample of 115 was drawn using a multi-stage stratified sampling technique. The study was conducted at the University of Dar es Salaam and data were collected using self-administered questionnaires. To ensure reliability and validity, a pilot study was conducted and generated a Cronbach’ Alpha 0.76 which was acceptable. Data were generated using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (IBM-SPSS Version 25). Descriptive statistics such as percentages and frequencies were used for analysis. The study established that the most influential determinant of postgraduate students’ research information seeking (RIS) and use is the research information needs that tend to differ subject to students’ research stage and the problem at hand. It further established that postgraduate students use different information sources where, the likelihood of information sources to be selected and used is determined by perceived accessibility, ease of use, quality and source’ convenience. The study also revealed that most (62%) of students valued e-sources which were the most frequently used, and they were strongly satisfied with the internet source. It further shows that students have no intention to disseminate their research findings at the end of their degree program except for few (28%), who indicated they need to disseminate their research findings. In addition, the study revealed that the students’ research findings’ utilization was triggered by a number of obstructions. The study recommended that the government needs to provide postgraduate degree sponsorship. It also recommended that specific research submission policy should be put in place. A deliberate and transparent process of transferring research-based knowledge in practice should be instituted as well. In addition, the study recommended that there is a need to conduct further research to identify the obstacles to better research policy communication, capacity and willingness to utilize research findings from postgraduate students.