Determinants of Utilization of Local Research Content by Graduate Students for Academic Purpose in Selected Universities in Kenya
Mugo, Monicah Mukami
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Research is a major component to national development. Local research content is closer to most of the problems affecting the society and the people. The government of Kenya has continued to support research activities by allocating a lot of resources towards research and universities and other research institutions are daily engaged in carrying out research. However, evidence as indicated from citation and referencing of research by graduate students shows overreliance on research content of foreign origin. The purpose of this study was therefore to establish the state of utilization of local research content by graduate students in Kenyan universities. This study was guided by the following research objectives: to establish the level of utilization of local research content amongst university graduate students, to examine the various platforms hosting the local research content, to investigate the accessibility and use of local research content to university graduate students, to find out challenges to the utilization of local research content amongst university graduate students. A descriptive study was conducted where simple random sampling was used to select a sample population consisting of 608 graduate students from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and 54 graduate students from United States International University. Data was collected using a questionnaire comprising of both closed and open-ended questions. The researcher also conducted document analysis through the institutional repositories of the two universities under study in order to determine how much of local research content is cited by graduate students during thesis writing. Quantitative and qualitative methods of data analysis were used to analyze the data collected using SPSS software. Data was then presented in form of frequencies, percentages, narrative reports, pie-chart, tables, percentages and graphs. The study indicated that local research is found in various formats in Kenya. Much of the research generated locally is not utilized by researchers. Barriers to use of this research ranged between poor communication channel, lack of awareness, low internet connectivity, poor accessibility and non-availability to researchers. Solutions to low utilization of research lies in digitization of local content, acquisitions of databases rich in local content, online communication of local research and user education programs to train users on appropriate retrieval skills for local contents. Based on these findings, the study recommends that more sensitization on use of local research content for national development should be done by all stake holders. Policies pertaining to local research should be put in place to enhance use of local research content. Deliberate effort should be made in acquisition and communication of local research in our information centers. Graduate researchers should be trained and encouraged to use and reference local research more to increase local research visibility.