A research project is an important condition to be satisfied before any student can graduate from a program of study in tertiary educational institutions in Nigeria. Research writing is all about putting together a solution to a research question together with the data that supports it, the sources that you consulted, and your own logic and explanation. That is what research writing is all about. By nature, research is a difficult task that requires a lot of knowledge of the subject, preparation, care, and perseverance to get the task done.
It is common to see undergraduates, most likely final-year students, getting frustrated and complaining about materials for their research work, especially when there are many factors causing this frustration.
Here are common reasons why Nigerian undergraduates are stuck with their research projects or work.
Lack of research writing skills: Even though most students undergo research methodology classes in their third year at universities in order to be prepared for their final year project, many students don’t take these classes seriously, and most of the lecturers taking these courses are not qualified in research methodology. And in their final years, they undertake research work without having actual knowledge of the research methods. Before undertaking research projects, researchers should be well equipped with all the methodological aspects.
Lack of communication with the supervisor: One out of every three students will tell you a horror story about their project supervisors. Nigerian university lecturers are often busy people and, most often, do not have time for their supervisees. This might be a result of too much workload and having little time to give out. Some of them are also undergoing professional development and are often preoccupied with that. This is very frustrating for serious students who really want to carry out their research projects. It is important to have guidance on a research project. Also, some students do not respect and meet their supervisors as they should. Poor communication gets in the way of the progress of their research. It is important to know what your supervisor wants from you and what your research project is about.
Time management: most students lack time management skills, which are, of course, learnable, and this hinders the progress of their research. Scheduling time for your research project daily is very necessary.
Not having a definite deadline: Deadlines help you get closer to your goals. There are many times when departments and faculties don’t set a deadline for students to submit their research papers, which leads to confusion and poor time management on the part of the students. This is often the case for many Nigerian tertiary institutions.
Insufficient data: Insufficiency of data is a potential problem for many undergraduate researchers. Most business establishments are of the opinion that researchers may misuse the data provided by them, and oftentimes, intended respondents are hesitant about giving this student researcher’s time and attention. I once acted as a research assistant for one of my lecturers, and when I went to share the questionnaires in one of the selected hotels, the manager told me to leave and not disturb his workers, whom I needed to fill in their responses for the research project. This affects the quality of data collected in rare cases and changes the purpose of research studies that need that kind of data the most.
Lack of confidence: Lack of confidence is one of the most common problems among student researchers. Students with low self-esteem feel less motivated and less intelligent to carry out this research, which affects the quality of the work.
Sourcing for information and library management: Library management and functioning are not satisfactory in many Nigerian universities. A lot of time and energy is spent on tracing appropriate books, journals, reports, etc. Many libraries are not able to get copies of new reports and other publications on time. Also, many students lack information searching skills; all they know is the Google search bar and the first search results. Click here to learn how to search for scholarly information and materials.
Finally, although there are additional challenges that Nigerian students must contend with when doing their research, the concerns listed above are the most prevalent and have been confirmed by many of the students questioned in this study.