ATTITUDINAL APPROACH OF GRADUATES AND UNDERGRADUATES TO EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH: A CLEAR INDICATION OF DOWNWARD TREND IN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
This review of related literature for the study is organized under the following headings
Issues in Educational Research in Africa
The Importance of undergraduate research
The state of education in Nigeria
Educational Research in Nigeria
Attitude and Education
Attitudes and Knowledge
Factors responsible for the poor attitudes of undergraduates/Graduates towards research project
Undergraduates attitude and the study of Mathematics
Undergraduates attitudes toward research courses
Summary and conclusion of reviewed literature
Issues in Educational Research in Africa
It is now generally believed that there exists a positive relationship between education and economic and human development. Basically, education provides the human capital needed to improve productivity in the economy and facilitate development.
According to Muyia (1998), one of the most important ways to promote the process of education is through research and the dissemination of the knowledge gained through investigation. For research to play a significant part in development, it must be relevant to the problems unique to the society. In addition, the researchers must be provided the to effectively, design their models, conduct the research and successfully disseminate their results. For researcher in Africa, lack of the necessary tools to conduct quality research, the absence of effective outlets for dissemination of results are important constraints.
The book “Issues in Educational Research in Africa” reveled issues critical to successful research in Africa. It critically analyzes issues such as the domination of research by a few well known scholars, the declining levels of finding few researches by domestic sources and the subsequent domination of research funding by international and multilateral organizations. In addition, the book examines the lack of innovation by the several researcher who now study the continent, leading to the continued use of outdated models for investigative work. Part of the problem arises from the fact that the pubic (including policy makers) does not seem to understand the proper role of research in development.
The book consists of twelve chapters written by individuals who are quite familiar with the field of educational research. It begins with an introductory chapter by the editors K. Mwiria and S.P. Wamahiu, in which they note that the last three decades have witnessed a significant growth in the amount of research conducted in Eastern and Southern African. Such growth in professional investigation has been influenced significantly by the rapid expansion of the educational systems of these societies.
The second chapter, written by O. Abagi, looks at the nature and function of educational research. A clear definition of educational research is provided. The chapter also examines various categories of educational research, as well as the educational approaches implored by educational researchers. Also addressed is how the various research approaches used by researchers contribute to the solving of educational problems as well as guiding future educational policy. Since this book is concerned with providing the techniques required by educational researchers, it would have been instructive if the author of this chapter had briefly discussed the problems that confront the many individuals who are just starting their research carriers. The problem of the young researcher is an important issue that should have been given same thought in this chapter.
The third chapter, written by K. Miviria examines the extent to which educational research has contributed to the process of policy formulation with special reference to Kenya. One major strength of this chapter is its ability to use practical Kenya examples to elucidate the point made. The author discuses the reason why education in the country has not been affected significantly by research, among the factors examined are, government interference in education policy, the poor quality of the research itself, the limited quality of the research itself, the limited funds allocated to research.
To overcome these problems, the author suggests that researchers educate the public and policy makers on the role of research in the development of society, and cooperate with the government is setting policy for higher education and research.
The Importance of Undergraduates Research
Why have undergraduates institutions generated more science majors per faculty member than research activity at undergraduate institutions declining? What can foundations do to improve the climate for research? Questions such as these were discussed at “Academic Excellence” Conference on the “Role of Research in the Natural sciences at undergraduate institutions”, at sciences Formilab, June 25-26 2001
The conference was sponsored by the Camille and Henry Drey Foundations, the Robert A Welch foundation, the W.M Keck foundation, the M.J Murdock Charitable Trust, and Research Corporation.
Although the focus of the conference was on predominantly undergraduate institutions, many of the issues are relevant to all higher education institutions. If research with undergraduates is important for producing future scientists, then the research oriented university also should increase the level of research involvement with their own undergraduates. Research universities generally have a very low rate of producing graduates who later obtain Ph.D’s Car/Wieman has pointed out that the study done by National Task Force on under graduate physic significant factor in producing physical science majors. Wieman urged research Universities to work harder to recruit more majors in physics. The data from the Academic Excellence study, strongly suggests that involving students in research is a way of producing more majors, who are more committed to scientific career.
The other dominant theme of the conference is that predominantly undergraduate institutions are very important, if not the most important source, of scientific talent in the United States. The justification for this view comes from data on the origins of science PhD’s and the fact that predominantly undergraduate institutions have a larger percentage of student majorities in science.
The conference did not provide many unexpected results nor change anybody’s perspective. Almost everybody in attendance believed in the importance of scientific research with students. The conference will have been useful if it encourages administrators and science department chairs at undergraduate institutions to find more to make it easier for their faculty to engage in research.
The state of Education in Nigeria
It is generally believed that the standard of education in Nigeria is falling. This is because most of the things a Primary school leaver in the years gone by can do, cannot be effectively done by secondary school students of today.
Both the primary school and secondary school form the foundation blocks for development of higher institutions. Little wonder then why the higher institution of learning is battling with much trouble among the undergraduates.
According to recent World Bank study, employers complain that the quality of university graduates (and secondary school graduates), especially their communication skills has fallen continually for two decodes” Bolag, (Feb. 2002 A41)
At the down of the year 2009, Nigeria is still uncertain where it is headed. According to Adamu (2009), the Nigerian world has blamed the woes of Nigerian, and in particular that of the educational sector, to the many years of military misrule. There is the common feeling that the military neglected the universities because of their opposition to military rule. But with the re-emergence of civil rule the nations’ educational institutions are still in shambles today.
The problem of education emerged from the neglect which the sector suffered from in the 198o’s learning to the gradual erosion of the system.
The state of education is one of the most important indices of national development. Nigeria education sector needs urgent attention if we are to survive in the global world. Adamu (2007) opined that to gauge the seriousness of a society especially its seriousness about attaining national development goals, we need to appraise the nation’s educational system.
Can we harvest the critical/creative minds necessary to manage the democratic process if we do not invest in human capital development? Or can we complete in the globalised world of the 21st century? If a nation does not face its education development seriously, then there is no hope for such society.
Adamu (2002) suggested that to revive the educational sector in order to help in building the individual to be able to assist the process of developing the society that can produce great minds, who can help build societies with honest lawyers, committed doctors, dedicated teachers, loyal army, professional bankers experienced engineers, fair and unbiased journalists, also to attain the present Yar’adua vision 20:2020 among others government should make sure our school are equipped with functional libraries and laboratories. it is also vital to have a healthy learning environment which also aids the teaching and learning interaction.
Educational Research in Nigeria
A review of the research activities on Educational research work showed that serious research work have not been carried out on the students attitude towards the writing and presentation of research project. According to Okwilagwe (2000), there is a death of literature in this area of study in Nigeria.
Most researches done in Nigeria are located in higher educational institutions and research institutes. Yoloye (1982) contends that such researches are often not policy-oriented nor directed towards the solution of every day problems. According to him, most higher degree researchers are for the acquisition of the technical skills of research and the broadening of the frontiers of knowledge- knowledge for its own sake rather than for immediate action.
It is a well known fact that attitude is a very strong weapon that can make or mar any good intention, policy or activity. Hence any educational activity, programm, policy or system that contends with poor pubic/students attitudes towards it is bound to be cripples right from onset or may survive with great difficult Ugwu (2009).
Attitudes constitute one aspect of an individual personality. The concept of an attitude, like that of personality is not easy to define precisely. EBEC (1979) says it may be defined very generally as the sum total of a man’s inclinations and feelings, prejudice or bias, preconceive, notions, ideals, fears, threats and convictions about any specific, or it may be defined more narrowly as a tendency to favor or reject particular groups of individuals, sets of ideals or social institutions.
Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines attitude as “the way that you behave towards somebody or something that shows how you think and feel.
The Fleaur and Westic (1963) defined attitude as follows: “The attitude…is an inferred property of the responses, namely their consistency probability of recurrence of behavour forms of a given type of direction.
Tuner and converse (1966). Sees attitudes as disposition rather than probabilities. It entails a relationship to perception and behavour.
In their definition, second and Bckman (1964) said the term attitude refers to certain regularities of an individual free thoughts and pre dispositions to act towards some aspect of his environment” They followed this definition with the following sentence, “Feelings are often referred to as the affective component, ‘thoughts’ as the cognitive component and “predisposition” as the behavioral component.
Eze (2009:163) thus see attitude as a combination of phenomena consisting of an affective cognitive and behavioural aspects.
The affective components refers to the emotions one associated with an object person(s) event or idea. That something is pleasing or displeasing; component corresponds to the persons knowledge about an entity, or class of entity.
Attitudes result from our tendency to reach general conclusion o the basis of specific experiences. The ability to generalize is very useful. It is largely responsible for our intellectual development. Without it all that we learn would be specific and hence limited in use. It gives us laws of science, of ethics, and of government. It also gives us attitudes, bases and is conception. Enyi (2006).
Attitude is conceptually defined in fish bein’s theory (1963) as positive, negative, o neutral affect, toward some object or behavior. Attitude toward on object is formed by a set of beliefs about likely attributes of the objective, and a corresponding evaluation of each attribute.
A theory of attitude formation developed by Martin Fishbein, can provide an understanding of how people form attitudes, whether toward an object (e.g Fishbein, 1963) or toward performing a specific behavior (e.g. Fishbein, 1967). The theory was expanded to focus on behavioural decision and included a second. Predictor or decision, subjective norm, in addition to attitude. This theory of reasoned action has been applied to changing beliefs attitudes, and actual behavior. e.g. Mac Ardle, (1972).
This theory of reasoned action has been used to study such diverse behavioural decision as participating in leisure activities (e.g. Ajzen and Fishbein, 1969), smoking cigarettes (e.g.) Fishbein, 1982), voting in an election (e.g. shepherd, , 1987), and using public transportation (e.g. Bamberg & Schmidt, 2001-2003) the theory as been successfully applied to reducing AIDs- related behaviours in a multi-city project funded by the centers or Disease control (e.g., Fishbein, Higgings Riet Mejer and Wolitski,1999). The theory is not generally taught in educational research courses, however, and only in the last two decades has it begun to e applied to studies of attitudes in educational decision making.
ATTITUDE AND EDUCATION
The focus of any educational system is on the development of the individual totality. R.S Peter says “Education can be defined as an all round development of a person morally, intellectually and spiritually. Man is educated to benefit himself and benefit the society. This helps man to develop social attitude and values which are important in the sustenance of the individual and society the development of the positive social values and attitude help to improve his personality and character which are the hall mark of an educated person.
According to Fredrick Herbert in Aguba (2006:58), “the aim of educations the production of good men”. Infact, the means of acquiring education cannot be said to be good if the long run product of the system is not an educated person”. Onah (2009:27).
Based on this fact, it is clearly stated in the National Policy on Education (NPE 2006), that one of the Nation’s goal of education is the inculcation of the right type of values and attitudes for the survival of the individual and Nigerian society”.
Attitude is an important component of the Nigerian system of education C.V Dictionary of Education sees Education as involving the process by which a person develops abilities, attitudes and other forms of behaviour of positive value in the society which he lives.
Some other educators opined that education may be defined in two ways: a process, and as a product. As a process, education is the process of acquiring knowledge, skills and attitudes to enable us tackle our life-long problems. As a product, education includes all the experiences (Knowledge, skill and attitudes) we require throughout life.
From all indication, it seems we cannot comprehend the nature of education without seeing it in relation to attitude.
Peters (1972:91) sees education as “the transmission of what is worthwhile to individuals to make them knowledgeable and contributing members of the society. It is important to note that a key elements in Peters definition is ‘worthwhile’. Here education connotes transmission of desirable skills, beliefs, attitudes knowledge and understanding.
Emerging from all these definitions is the fact that attitude is a key element in education.
ATTITUDE AND KNOWLEDGE
What we believe is made up of our knowledge and our attitudes. Those propositions that most informed persons regard as true constitute knowledge. Those on which significant differences of opinion exist are term attitudes.
Attitudes and knowledge constitute what is refers to as education. Education implies a positive state of mind. To be worthwhile is what constitute education. What is not worthwhile is not education. Acquisition of knowledge without the right disposition of mind cannot qualify one as educated man.
To be educated according to Onah (2009:28) an individual must have knowledge and the power of the mind to apply this in his practical life. This means that, he would employ knowledge he has mastered to demonstrate principles worthy of social life. Critical attitude of mind has helped greatly in the advancement of science and technology.
Education is a value, both intrinsic and extrinsic. It is value intrinsic because it is preferred to lack of it. It is positive and implies a positive state of mind, it s commendatory. To say that one is educated is to imply that one has attained high position of honour and respect not for any material things or instrumental things. For according to R.S Peters (1966) it is a worthwhile activity. The importance of this aspect of education to man cannot be over emphasized. This explains why it is linked with human survival as man cannot survive without some form of education.
Factors responsible for the poor attitudes of undergraduates/Graduates towards research project
There are so many factors that contributed to the poor attitudes of students towards project writing in our tertiary institutions.
The major of the factors and of course the focus of the researcher is the wrong belief (notion) that scholars have towards research project. According to Enyi (2006), attitudes are personal beliefs. This wrong notion in research can be traced down to the same wrong belief that have been among students towards mathematics and science subjects.
Generally, many Nigerians, including the academician erroneously belief that mathematics is difficult. This attitude affect their choice of course of study as most of them shy away from any course that is science incline such as research methodology courses. Luckson (1998) said that the enrolment in the fields such as math’s and science related fields is still limited.
The methodology of research in the behavioral sciences utilizes statistics of various types. Therefore, any person or group striving to engage in research of any serious nature should be acquainted with some essentials of statistics. Unfortunately most scholars indicated low achievement in mathematics/statistics. Given the poor background in mathematics, therefore scholars may likely find difficulty in coping with the area of project writing that are noted in statistics for example, in a recent study completed that secondary school students who receive prior instructions in related mathematics concepts achieved higher than their counterparts who did not receive any such instructions.
Research evidences abound which indicated that achievement in science has some affective dimension to the extent that students demonstrated poor interest on other subjects.