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ATTITUDINAL APPROACH OF GRADUATES AND UNDERGRADUATES TO EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH: A CLEAR INDICATION OF DOWNWARD TREND IN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM


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ATTITUDINAL APPROACH OF GRADUATES AND UNDERGRADUATES TO EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH: A CLEAR INDICATION OF DOWNWARD TREND IN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM


ABSTRACT

This paper analyses undergraduates and graduate attitude and the writing of research project report at the Enugu State college of Education (Technical) Enugu. A total number of 300 undergraduates and graduates who formed the sample size were drawn from the various departments of the selected schools in the school. The study revealed that greater percentage of undergraduates neither have favourable attitude nor possessed the prerequisite for carrying out empirical investigation, graduate on the contrary have favourable attitudes as well as required knowledge of research. Both undergraduates and graduates view research as indispensable and agree that it should remain integral part of educational curriculum.

CHAPTER ONE

1.1     BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The prime place of education in the development effort of nations has never been doubted the world over.

It is becoming more and more obvious that the education and research cannot operate in its way without integrating its work into the great subject of development of Africa. Unfortunately with few exceptions researchers and students on one side and the emerging African industry on the other side suffer from the inability to engage in collaborative projects that would lead to the real problem solving.

The quality of education and its output, scientific research, Technology Development and innovation for Africa will only be valid if are made –in- Africa to solve real problems of Africans in its own Development challenges.

African Universities needs to produce agile forward-thinker and leaders who are aware of the national needs and global trends. At the moment, Africa is suffering from absence of data for critical analysis and proper planning, preventing and forecasting issues.

Various nations including Nigeria, has for long been making efforts to develop this sector for optimal development.

Although, much has been achieved in this regard, a lot more needs to be done so that the ever-increasing challenges of our time and the time to come can be most effectively confronted.

In Nigeria, for example, the challenges have been that of poverty, disease, hunger, illiteracy and general underdevelopment. How we are able to tackle these problems will reflect on the value and commitment we attach to education, which according to Professor Backie is the biggest industry that touches on every fabric of our endeavour.

The system of education for any country is developed to solve the problem of the country. Suffice to say that the survival of a country depend largely on the quality of her educational system.

Nigeria has adopted education as an instrument ‘par excellence for affecting National development. In Nigeria’s philosophy of Education, we believe among others that there is need for functional education for the promotion of a progressive united Nigeria. To this end, school programms need be relevant, practical and comprehensive, while interest and ability should determine the individual’s direction in education. (NPE 2004)

One thing about education is that it is designed to solve societal problem at a particular point in time and it becomes counter productive where it can no longer perform such basic function.

Thus the integration of research courses and writing of project research in the school curriculum. Students at the tertiary level of our educational system who offer courses in the academic discipline of education require an in-depth knowledge of educational research as a foundation course for their journey into their academic world and beyond.

Research is the wheel of progressive of any educational profession. Its importance can never be overemphasized. Research in Education is justified on the educative process. These problems require solution based on convincing evidence. Research is the only credible basis for making rational decisions in the face of several perplexing situations and conflicting practices that abound in education. these perplexing situations and conflicting practices are addressed in educational research from the theoretical and practical view points.

Educational Research also forms the bedrock of professional preparation of the students, as no one deserves to be called a graduate without the full grasp of the content of educational research. This is the reason why it forms an integral part of educational curricular particularly for the higher institution. As such, students who gain admission into higher institutions of learning must singularly or in groups as the case may be participate in research activities irrespective of field of study.

Inspite of the academic programmes in educational research in several higher institutions in Nigeria today, many Nigerians including the ‘academicians’ are yet best described as ‘Research reluctant’. Thus it is difficult for many scholars to see the need for any theoretical bases for research courses, much more the need for any research project work.

With immense disappointment, many scholars find it difficult to conduct an academic research freely with minimum tears. These students find it very uneasy to develop research topics, collect data, present data and analyse data collected fresh from the field.

Many young people emerging from our system of higher learning were unable to find their feet in the labour market.  Unemployment rate increases with the number of graduates that lack professionalism in their areas of specialization.

Research problems as used in this context do not refers to the problems encountered by the researchers in the process of his activities while tackling the problems that set of the tasks; rather they are the questions the research is posed to answer.

The issues at stake in this study is therefore whether students do recognize what constitute research project effectiveness criteria or whether their emotional disposition do influence the stability or reliabily of their attitudes towards research project. Attitudes are very important in life and activities of man as they determine direction. If individuals have favourable attitude towards something they approach it or support it. On the other hand, if they have unfavourable attitude, it leads to avoidance or conflict Eze (2009).

That the research is contending with poor attitude of students towards it, is incontestable. Research has been under the influence of wide spread negative perception of students. A social malady that has nearly defiled all efforts by the school.

Compared to the situation up to the late 1970’s, academic publishing in Nigeria, the concomitant and index of scholarly research, has declined in terms of output, quality and regularity of publications. This reflects a general decline in the standard of education Ayodeji Olukoju (2002).

This situation necessitated this study which investigates attitudes of graduates and undergraduates towards educational research.

STATEMENT OF  PROBLEM

With the high incidence of very poor attitude of undergraduates/graduates towards carrying out a credible empirical study in our institutions, with the ripple effects of having graduates who are half baked, nonfunctional literate graduates, untrained graduates, and general downward trend in educational system. Consequently, these problems could lead to making a country un-industrialized with its attendant problem of low or near zero productivity which leads to high rate of unemployment.

All the effort made through the help of the government and the institutions of higher learning and the education sector seem to have proved abortive. Having noticed the high incidence of these anomalies, it is only a change in the attitude and approach of undergraduates/graduates to education research could make a positive result in reversing the downward trend in the educational system.

PURPOSE OF STUDY

The broad objective of the study is to study the attitudinal approach of graduates/undergraduates to educational research; A clear incidence in the downward trend in educational system.

The following are the feature objectives

-                  To determine whether the graduates/undergraduates have positive attitude to research work.

-                  To discover if the graduates have the knowledge of empirical investigation.

-                  To determine the quality standard of educational research work produced by graduates

-                  To examine our educational programmes and activities, practices, resource and method

-                  To proffer solutions.

SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

The importance of educational research cannot be over-emphasized. Educational research forms the bedrock of professional preparation of graduates. No student is qualified to be called a graduate without certified educational research.

Generally, this study stands to correct, improve and recommend the right attitude students should have towards educational research.

The study is of paramount important to students because educational research work is one of the bridge through which students must cross to achieve purposeful knowledge, skills, attitudes and worthwhile values in order to enable them function very well and contribute meaningfully to the development of the society.

The study will bring about graduate expert in various fields or activity also bringing as many trained minds as possible to bear on the general problems and decision making processes of society and improve quality of life as a whole.

It will helps reduce social problems such as unemployment by equipping individuals with the necessary skills, knowledge and attitudes that would enable them to be gainfully engaged and be in a position to employ others.

It will help to stimulates technological and industrial development. Thus by producing research- oriented graduates there is a prospect for our industry.

Understanding both students initial attitudes toward research courses and research project should help educators discover and make use of effective teaching strategies for entry level research course.

The researcher hoped that this study would benefits the society at large, as no nation can develop without proper development of its education.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

In other to effectively carry out this study, the following research questions were examined

-                  What percentage of undergraduates and graduate have positive attitudes towards research.

-                  Do Graduates have required knowledge about research work?

-                  Do Graduates/Undergraduates see research work as an important aspect of learning?

-                  Should Educational Research remain an integral part of educational curricular?

HYPOTHESIS

HO I:           There is no significant difference between the response of graduates and undergraduates on attitude towards research.

HO II:          Knowledge of empirical investigation is significantly independent of Educational status.

HO III:        Significant difference does not exist between the response of Graduates and undergraduates on the rating of educational research .

HO IV:        There is no significant difference between the opinion of undergraduates and graduates on whether educational research should form integral part  of educational curricular..

ASSUMPTION

The final year undergraduates form the sample for the study.

          It is assumed that the final year undergraduates must have completed their discipline introductory courses, basic statistics courses and research methodology.

          It is also assumed that the graduates must have at least  carried out a research work once.

DELIMITATION (SCOPE) OF THE STUDY

Definitely, poor attitudes of under graduates that lead to the falling standard of education do not only account for the decline in output and quality of research project.

There are several other factors such factor which include the following; method of teaching research courses (methodology), lecturer’s factor in the area of supervision, the general school system factor etc.

This study is delimited to the attitudinal aspect of students approach to Educational Research. The study could not cover the entire aspect of the problems of educational research such as poor research, lack of research facilities (equipment and materials) etc.

DEFINITION OF TERMS

Attitude

Attitude as used in the study is defined as positive, negative or neutral affect towards an object. The object in this case is educational research.

Educational Research

This refers to the thesis presented at the end of departmental course in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the course of study.

Graduate

A graduate is someone who is nearing the end of a Bachelors, Masters or Advanced degree or who has one of these degrees. Candidates will also need to demonstrate that they have certain qualities that indicate the potential to become a leader.

Graduates for the case study are the TTC/PDE students of ESCET Enugu.
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