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Literature Review Step by Step

  • Internet Sources
  • Refining Your Understanding
  • Parts of a Literature Review
  • Choosing a Topic
  • Search Terms
  • Peer Review
  • Social Media Sources
  • Information Landscape

What Tests to Apply When Evaluating Sources

If you cannot access the above video, you can watch it here .

•Is the  author  of the information named? ​• What are the author's  qualifications  and expertise?  •Who  sponsors  the website? •Is the sponsor of the page  reputable ? How reputable? •Is there a link to  information about the author  and/or the sponsor and/or a way to contact them? •Are there links to any other organization(s) that supplies information to the website? •If the page includes neither a signature nor indicates a sponsor, is there a way to determine its origin ?

Why is this important?

  • Anyone can publish  anything  on the web.
  • Qualifications  can bolster confidence in the information presented.
  • Authorship  and/or sponsorship can be an  indication of bias  or limited viewpoint.
  • Is the page dated? 
  • If so, when was the last update? 
  • How current are the links? 
  • Have some expired or moved?

Why is this important? When dates are not provided,  you cannot tell how "stale" the information is  and whether newer information exists that's not covered on the website. Bad links are an indication of  a site that might be abandoned  or neglected. Even if  a date  is provided, it  may have various meanings . For example,

  • It may indicate when the material was first written.
  • It may indicate when the material was first placed on the Web.
  • It may indicate when the material was last revised.

Determining Authorship

►Is the document signed? ►Can I get more information on the author by linking from this page to other documents? ►Was there information about the author on the page from which I linked to this one?

If you can answer "Yes" to the second or third question, it's possible that you will have enough information for evaluative purposes, or at least enough information to help you find the author's telephone number or e-mail address so that you may contact him or her with questions.

If you can answer "Yes" to the first question only, you may need to find further information on the author. Start by Googling the name. This process will require some judgement on your part, but if you are quickly lead to a dead end, this should be a red flag.

Who is the Publisher?

Does the page have the following:

  •  A header or footer that shows its affiliation as part of a larger web site.
  •  A watermark or wallpaper that fulfills the same function.
  •  A link at the bottom or top of the page that allows you to go to the home page of the web site where the document lives.
  •  A link that allows you to email the site

When evaluating a website there are several things to take into consideration, one of the first things to look at is the URL (Uniform Resource Locator: a protocol for specifying addresses on the Internet) this can often tell you several things about the website, the creator, the audience, the purpose and sometimes even the country of origin.  The URL is the address you type in to get to a web site, for example, https://www.uml.edu/library/ (our library’s address) or https://www.google.se/ (Sweden’s Google search).

A domain name is like a website’s proper name (the part after the www.), businesses and organizations often have a domain name that is their corporate name (for example Microsoft’s domain name is Microsoft.com).  The domain suffix is the end of the domain name (the .com part) and can offer insight into the type of organization the site is linked to.  For example, any commercial enterprise or corporation that has a web site will have a domain suffix of .com, which means it is a commercial entity. Popular domain suffixes include ".com," ".net," ".gov," and ".org," but there are dozens of domain suffixes.  However, since any entity can register domain names with these suffixes, the domain suffix does not always represent the type of website that uses the domain name. For example, many individuals and organizations register ".com" domain names for non-commercial purposes, since the ".com" domain is the most recognized.

The domain suffix might also give you a clue about the geographic origin of a web site, each country also has a unique domain suffix that is meant to be used for websites within the country. For example, Brazilian websites may use the ".br" domain suffix, Chinese websites may use the ".cn" suffix, and Australian websites may use the ".au" suffix. These country-based TLDs, sometimes referred to as "country codes," are also used to specify different versions of an international website. For example, the German home page for Google is "www.google.de" instead of "www.google.com."

http://agriculture. sc . gov /divisions/agency-services/state-farmers-markets/

From the web address above, you can tell it is a Government site (.gov) and it is for the state of South Carolina (.sc) the domain name is for the Department of Agriculture. The page is for a listing of state farmers markets, you can see the path to the filename after each backslash (/).

Recognizing a Personal Website

A personal web page is one published by an individual who may or may not be affiliated with a larger institution. Although the URL address of the page may have a variety of endings (e.g. .com, .edu, etc.), a tilde (~) is frequently embedded somewhere in the URL

Consider the following:

  • Is it clear what individual is responsible for the contents of the page?
  • Does the individual responsible for the page indicate his or her qualifications for writing on this topic?
  • Is there a way of verifying the legitimacy of this individual? (Because it is difficult to verify the legitimacy of an individual, personal home pages may be a useful source for personal opinion but use extreme caution when using them as a source for factual information.)
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Writing a Literature Review

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A literature review is a document or section of a document that collects key sources on a topic and discusses those sources in conversation with each other (also called synthesis ). The lit review is an important genre in many disciplines, not just literature (i.e., the study of works of literature such as novels and plays). When we say “literature review” or refer to “the literature,” we are talking about the research ( scholarship ) in a given field. You will often see the terms “the research,” “the scholarship,” and “the literature” used mostly interchangeably.

Where, when, and why would I write a lit review?

There are a number of different situations where you might write a literature review, each with slightly different expectations; different disciplines, too, have field-specific expectations for what a literature review is and does. For instance, in the humanities, authors might include more overt argumentation and interpretation of source material in their literature reviews, whereas in the sciences, authors are more likely to report study designs and results in their literature reviews; these differences reflect these disciplines’ purposes and conventions in scholarship. You should always look at examples from your own discipline and talk to professors or mentors in your field to be sure you understand your discipline’s conventions, for literature reviews as well as for any other genre.

A literature review can be a part of a research paper or scholarly article, usually falling after the introduction and before the research methods sections. In these cases, the lit review just needs to cover scholarship that is important to the issue you are writing about; sometimes it will also cover key sources that informed your research methodology.

Lit reviews can also be standalone pieces, either as assignments in a class or as publications. In a class, a lit review may be assigned to help students familiarize themselves with a topic and with scholarship in their field, get an idea of the other researchers working on the topic they’re interested in, find gaps in existing research in order to propose new projects, and/or develop a theoretical framework and methodology for later research. As a publication, a lit review usually is meant to help make other scholars’ lives easier by collecting and summarizing, synthesizing, and analyzing existing research on a topic. This can be especially helpful for students or scholars getting into a new research area, or for directing an entire community of scholars toward questions that have not yet been answered.

What are the parts of a lit review?

Most lit reviews use a basic introduction-body-conclusion structure; if your lit review is part of a larger paper, the introduction and conclusion pieces may be just a few sentences while you focus most of your attention on the body. If your lit review is a standalone piece, the introduction and conclusion take up more space and give you a place to discuss your goals, research methods, and conclusions separately from where you discuss the literature itself.

Introduction:

  • An introductory paragraph that explains what your working topic and thesis is
  • A forecast of key topics or texts that will appear in the review
  • Potentially, a description of how you found sources and how you analyzed them for inclusion and discussion in the review (more often found in published, standalone literature reviews than in lit review sections in an article or research paper)
  • Summarize and synthesize: Give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
  • Analyze and interpret: Don’t just paraphrase other researchers – add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
  • Critically Evaluate: Mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
  • Write in well-structured paragraphs: Use transition words and topic sentence to draw connections, comparisons, and contrasts.

Conclusion:

  • Summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance
  • Connect it back to your primary research question

How should I organize my lit review?

Lit reviews can take many different organizational patterns depending on what you are trying to accomplish with the review. Here are some examples:

  • Chronological : The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time, which helps familiarize the audience with the topic (for instance if you are introducing something that is not commonly known in your field). If you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order. Try to analyze the patterns, turning points, and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred (as mentioned previously, this may not be appropriate in your discipline — check with a teacher or mentor if you’re unsure).
  • Thematic : If you have found some recurring central themes that you will continue working with throughout your piece, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic. For example, if you are reviewing literature about women and religion, key themes can include the role of women in churches and the religious attitude towards women.
  • Qualitative versus quantitative research
  • Empirical versus theoretical scholarship
  • Divide the research by sociological, historical, or cultural sources
  • Theoretical : In many humanities articles, the literature review is the foundation for the theoretical framework. You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts. You can argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach or combine various theorical concepts to create a framework for your research.

What are some strategies or tips I can use while writing my lit review?

Any lit review is only as good as the research it discusses; make sure your sources are well-chosen and your research is thorough. Don’t be afraid to do more research if you discover a new thread as you’re writing. More info on the research process is available in our "Conducting Research" resources .

As you’re doing your research, create an annotated bibliography ( see our page on the this type of document ). Much of the information used in an annotated bibliography can be used also in a literature review, so you’ll be not only partially drafting your lit review as you research, but also developing your sense of the larger conversation going on among scholars, professionals, and any other stakeholders in your topic.

Usually you will need to synthesize research rather than just summarizing it. This means drawing connections between sources to create a picture of the scholarly conversation on a topic over time. Many student writers struggle to synthesize because they feel they don’t have anything to add to the scholars they are citing; here are some strategies to help you:

  • It often helps to remember that the point of these kinds of syntheses is to show your readers how you understand your research, to help them read the rest of your paper.
  • Writing teachers often say synthesis is like hosting a dinner party: imagine all your sources are together in a room, discussing your topic. What are they saying to each other?
  • Look at the in-text citations in each paragraph. Are you citing just one source for each paragraph? This usually indicates summary only. When you have multiple sources cited in a paragraph, you are more likely to be synthesizing them (not always, but often
  • Read more about synthesis here.

The most interesting literature reviews are often written as arguments (again, as mentioned at the beginning of the page, this is discipline-specific and doesn’t work for all situations). Often, the literature review is where you can establish your research as filling a particular gap or as relevant in a particular way. You have some chance to do this in your introduction in an article, but the literature review section gives a more extended opportunity to establish the conversation in the way you would like your readers to see it. You can choose the intellectual lineage you would like to be part of and whose definitions matter most to your thinking (mostly humanities-specific, but this goes for sciences as well). In addressing these points, you argue for your place in the conversation, which tends to make the lit review more compelling than a simple reporting of other sources.

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  • How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

How to Write a Literature Review | Guide, Examples, & Templates

Published on January 2, 2023 by Shona McCombes . Revised on September 11, 2023.

What is a literature review? A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources on a specific topic. It provides an overview of current knowledge, allowing you to identify relevant theories, methods, and gaps in the existing research that you can later apply to your paper, thesis, or dissertation topic .

There are five key steps to writing a literature review:

  • Search for relevant literature
  • Evaluate sources
  • Identify themes, debates, and gaps
  • Outline the structure
  • Write your literature review

A good literature review doesn’t just summarize sources—it analyzes, synthesizes , and critically evaluates to give a clear picture of the state of knowledge on the subject.

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Table of contents

What is the purpose of a literature review, examples of literature reviews, step 1 – search for relevant literature, step 2 – evaluate and select sources, step 3 – identify themes, debates, and gaps, step 4 – outline your literature review’s structure, step 5 – write your literature review, free lecture slides, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions, introduction.

  • Quick Run-through
  • Step 1 & 2

When you write a thesis , dissertation , or research paper , you will likely have to conduct a literature review to situate your research within existing knowledge. The literature review gives you a chance to:

  • Demonstrate your familiarity with the topic and its scholarly context
  • Develop a theoretical framework and methodology for your research
  • Position your work in relation to other researchers and theorists
  • Show how your research addresses a gap or contributes to a debate
  • Evaluate the current state of research and demonstrate your knowledge of the scholarly debates around your topic.

Writing literature reviews is a particularly important skill if you want to apply for graduate school or pursue a career in research. We’ve written a step-by-step guide that you can follow below.

Literature review guide

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Writing literature reviews can be quite challenging! A good starting point could be to look at some examples, depending on what kind of literature review you’d like to write.

  • Example literature review #1: “Why Do People Migrate? A Review of the Theoretical Literature” ( Theoretical literature review about the development of economic migration theory from the 1950s to today.)
  • Example literature review #2: “Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines” ( Methodological literature review about interdisciplinary knowledge acquisition and production.)
  • Example literature review #3: “The Use of Technology in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Thematic literature review about the effects of technology on language acquisition.)
  • Example literature review #4: “Learners’ Listening Comprehension Difficulties in English Language Learning: A Literature Review” ( Chronological literature review about how the concept of listening skills has changed over time.)

You can also check out our templates with literature review examples and sample outlines at the links below.

Download Word doc Download Google doc

Before you begin searching for literature, you need a clearly defined topic .

If you are writing the literature review section of a dissertation or research paper, you will search for literature related to your research problem and questions .

Make a list of keywords

Start by creating a list of keywords related to your research question. Include each of the key concepts or variables you’re interested in, and list any synonyms and related terms. You can add to this list as you discover new keywords in the process of your literature search.

  • Social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok
  • Body image, self-perception, self-esteem, mental health
  • Generation Z, teenagers, adolescents, youth

Search for relevant sources

Use your keywords to begin searching for sources. Some useful databases to search for journals and articles include:

  • Your university’s library catalogue
  • Google Scholar
  • Project Muse (humanities and social sciences)
  • Medline (life sciences and biomedicine)
  • EconLit (economics)
  • Inspec (physics, engineering and computer science)

You can also use boolean operators to help narrow down your search.

Make sure to read the abstract to find out whether an article is relevant to your question. When you find a useful book or article, you can check the bibliography to find other relevant sources.

You likely won’t be able to read absolutely everything that has been written on your topic, so it will be necessary to evaluate which sources are most relevant to your research question.

For each publication, ask yourself:

  • What question or problem is the author addressing?
  • What are the key concepts and how are they defined?
  • What are the key theories, models, and methods?
  • Does the research use established frameworks or take an innovative approach?
  • What are the results and conclusions of the study?
  • How does the publication relate to other literature in the field? Does it confirm, add to, or challenge established knowledge?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the research?

Make sure the sources you use are credible , and make sure you read any landmark studies and major theories in your field of research.

You can use our template to summarize and evaluate sources you’re thinking about using. Click on either button below to download.

Take notes and cite your sources

As you read, you should also begin the writing process. Take notes that you can later incorporate into the text of your literature review.

It is important to keep track of your sources with citations to avoid plagiarism . It can be helpful to make an annotated bibliography , where you compile full citation information and write a paragraph of summary and analysis for each source. This helps you remember what you read and saves time later in the process.

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To begin organizing your literature review’s argument and structure, be sure you understand the connections and relationships between the sources you’ve read. Based on your reading and notes, you can look for:

  • Trends and patterns (in theory, method or results): do certain approaches become more or less popular over time?
  • Themes: what questions or concepts recur across the literature?
  • Debates, conflicts and contradictions: where do sources disagree?
  • Pivotal publications: are there any influential theories or studies that changed the direction of the field?
  • Gaps: what is missing from the literature? Are there weaknesses that need to be addressed?

This step will help you work out the structure of your literature review and (if applicable) show how your own research will contribute to existing knowledge.

  • Most research has focused on young women.
  • There is an increasing interest in the visual aspects of social media.
  • But there is still a lack of robust research on highly visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat—this is a gap that you could address in your own research.

There are various approaches to organizing the body of a literature review. Depending on the length of your literature review, you can combine several of these strategies (for example, your overall structure might be thematic, but each theme is discussed chronologically).

Chronological

The simplest approach is to trace the development of the topic over time. However, if you choose this strategy, be careful to avoid simply listing and summarizing sources in order.

Try to analyze patterns, turning points and key debates that have shaped the direction of the field. Give your interpretation of how and why certain developments occurred.

If you have found some recurring central themes, you can organize your literature review into subsections that address different aspects of the topic.

For example, if you are reviewing literature about inequalities in migrant health outcomes, key themes might include healthcare policy, language barriers, cultural attitudes, legal status, and economic access.

Methodological

If you draw your sources from different disciplines or fields that use a variety of research methods , you might want to compare the results and conclusions that emerge from different approaches. For example:

  • Look at what results have emerged in qualitative versus quantitative research
  • Discuss how the topic has been approached by empirical versus theoretical scholarship
  • Divide the literature into sociological, historical, and cultural sources

Theoretical

A literature review is often the foundation for a theoretical framework . You can use it to discuss various theories, models, and definitions of key concepts.

You might argue for the relevance of a specific theoretical approach, or combine various theoretical concepts to create a framework for your research.

Like any other academic text , your literature review should have an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion . What you include in each depends on the objective of your literature review.

The introduction should clearly establish the focus and purpose of the literature review.

Depending on the length of your literature review, you might want to divide the body into subsections. You can use a subheading for each theme, time period, or methodological approach.

As you write, you can follow these tips:

  • Summarize and synthesize: give an overview of the main points of each source and combine them into a coherent whole
  • Analyze and interpret: don’t just paraphrase other researchers — add your own interpretations where possible, discussing the significance of findings in relation to the literature as a whole
  • Critically evaluate: mention the strengths and weaknesses of your sources
  • Write in well-structured paragraphs: use transition words and topic sentences to draw connections, comparisons and contrasts

In the conclusion, you should summarize the key findings you have taken from the literature and emphasize their significance.

When you’ve finished writing and revising your literature review, don’t forget to proofread thoroughly before submitting. Not a language expert? Check out Scribbr’s professional proofreading services !

This article has been adapted into lecture slides that you can use to teach your students about writing a literature review.

Scribbr slides are free to use, customize, and distribute for educational purposes.

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If you want to know more about the research process , methodology , research bias , or statistics , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • Sampling methods
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified sampling
  • Cluster sampling
  • Likert scales
  • Reproducibility

 Statistics

  • Null hypothesis
  • Statistical power
  • Probability distribution
  • Effect size
  • Poisson distribution

Research bias

  • Optimism bias
  • Cognitive bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Anchoring bias
  • Explicit bias

A literature review is a survey of scholarly sources (such as books, journal articles, and theses) related to a specific topic or research question .

It is often written as part of a thesis, dissertation , or research paper , in order to situate your work in relation to existing knowledge.

There are several reasons to conduct a literature review at the beginning of a research project:

  • To familiarize yourself with the current state of knowledge on your topic
  • To ensure that you’re not just repeating what others have already done
  • To identify gaps in knowledge and unresolved problems that your research can address
  • To develop your theoretical framework and methodology
  • To provide an overview of the key findings and debates on the topic

Writing the literature review shows your reader how your work relates to existing research and what new insights it will contribute.

The literature review usually comes near the beginning of your thesis or dissertation . After the introduction , it grounds your research in a scholarly field and leads directly to your theoretical framework or methodology .

A literature review is a survey of credible sources on a topic, often used in dissertations , theses, and research papers . Literature reviews give an overview of knowledge on a subject, helping you identify relevant theories and methods, as well as gaps in existing research. Literature reviews are set up similarly to other  academic texts , with an introduction , a main body, and a conclusion .

An  annotated bibliography is a list of  source references that has a short description (called an annotation ) for each of the sources. It is often assigned as part of the research process for a  paper .  

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“Fink’s tone, level, and style is very approachable and understandable which makes it ideal for my students, most of whom are new to the process of literature reviews.”

“This book provides rich, useful, details on conducting literature review & constructing evidenced based reviews.”

All of the information in this book was a duplicate of the books adopted.

Excellent content and easy to follow for novice researchers.

NEW TO THIS EDITION: 

  • Nearly 100 new online research examples and references from the social, behavioral, and health sciences
  • Updated case studies using major online databases such as the Web of Science
  • More qualitative research examples and guidelines and checklists for evaluating their quality
  • An explanation of how “meta-synthesis” is used to interpret and combine the results of qualitative studies
  • A brand new glossary of key terms to assist readers in learning about literature reviews 
  • A discussion of how to account for an article’s impact by interpreting its altmetrics , including attention scores, donut diagrams, and Twitter demographics 
  • Additional examples of how to write up reviews and how others have done it
  • Expansion of the exercises at the end of the chapter to vary difficulty and include more online searching
  • An introduction to the GRADE system to evaluate the “risk of bias” in each research article

KEY FEATURES: 

  • Step-by-step procedures and visual examples help readers master every aspect of conducting the literature review process
  • Online examples and case studies bring the literature review process to life
  • End-of-chapter exercises help readers master key concepts and skills  

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: Reviewing the Literature: Why? For Whom? How?

Chapter 2: Searching and Screening: The Practical Screen and Methodological Qual

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  • Getting started

What is a literature review?

Why conduct a literature review, stages of a literature review, lit reviews: an overview (video), check out these books.

  • Types of reviews
  • 1. Define your research question
  • 2. Plan your search
  • 3. Search the literature
  • 4. Organize your results
  • 5. Synthesize your findings
  • 6. Write the review
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Definition: A literature review is a systematic examination and synthesis of existing scholarly research on a specific topic or subject.

Purpose: It serves to provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of knowledge within a particular field.

Analysis: Involves critically evaluating and summarizing key findings, methodologies, and debates found in academic literature.

Identifying Gaps: Aims to pinpoint areas where there is a lack of research or unresolved questions, highlighting opportunities for further investigation.

Contextualization: Enables researchers to understand how their work fits into the broader academic conversation and contributes to the existing body of knowledge.

literature review on internet

tl;dr  A literature review critically examines and synthesizes existing scholarly research and publications on a specific topic to provide a comprehensive understanding of the current state of knowledge in the field.

What is a literature review NOT?

❌ An annotated bibliography

❌ Original research

❌ A summary

❌ Something to be conducted at the end of your research

❌ An opinion piece

❌ A chronological compilation of studies

The reason for conducting a literature review is to:

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Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students

While this 9-minute video from NCSU is geared toward graduate students, it is useful for anyone conducting a literature review.

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Timothy Onosahwo Iyendo

c Department of Architecture, European University of Lefke, Lefke, Northern Cyprus, Via Mersin 10, Turkey

Most prior studies into the utilization of internet technology for learning purposes in contemporary educational settings in developing countries has largely dealt with its impact on academic performance, communication and general educational purposes. This paper investigates the place of the internet in academic research and learning of students, through both quantitative and qualitative research approaches, using 250 undergraduate students in three selected universities within North-Eastern Nigeria. To gain an in-depth understanding of the perception of the students' views, a focus group was conducted with 18 students. The students perceived that the lack of digital readiness among their staff and institution, the absence of electronic library for easy accessibility to journals from the scientific database, and inefficient cybercafé and internet facility within their university settings were the main issues discouraging the utilization of the internet within their institutions. Yet, they still strive to find ways through self-organization, resilience and resourcefulness to make use of the internet to facilitate their studies. Most of them stated that they depended on their smartphone/handsets to access the internet through subscription from other internet providers and have become overly reliant on Google, Yahoo, and open access e-Journals. Nevertheless, the students believed that the use of internet enabled them to perform research ahead of time, tackle multiple homework, widens the scope of reading and learning, promotes self-learning, encourages and enhances peer learning as well as ameliorates student's examination preparation.

1. Introduction

The internet has been defined as the communication superhighway that links, hooks, and transforms the entire world into a global village where a different individual can easily get in touch, see, or speak to one another, as well as exchange information instantaneously from one point of the globe to another ( Shitta, 2002 ). This technology has reshaped the tertiary educational practice in terms of improving academic learning ( Apuke and Iyendo, 2017 ; Manasijević et al., 2016 ; Iyendo and Halil, 2015 ) and will be more feasible in the future. Hussain (2012) reported that the internet and its usage in higher education have improved educational development and research and has encouraged virtual interactions for sharing research findings.

The rationale for internet utilization for academic and research purposes stems from the benefits derived, such as free access to online journals, magazines and other information resources. It has been theorized (i.e. Technology acceptance model) that the perceived usefulness or perceived utility is the major rationale for the acceptance of technological devices such as the internet. The perceived usefulness (PU) is described as the extent to which a person perceived that utilizing a particular technological device will improve a given job performance. Whilst perceived ease of use (PEOU) is the extent a person feels that utilizing a particular technological device would require less effort, or how well a technological device can fasten a work without necessarily putting much effort ( Tezer and Soykan, 2017 ; Davis, 1989 ). In this regard, Sahin et al. (2010) pointed out that the use of internet in the educational setting has enabled easy access to many resources and information sharing. This conforms with Audu's (2006) claim that the internet is beneficial in several ways in the academic settings in terms of providing access to global sources of information and permitting researchers to discuss and share experiences. Bashir et al. (2008) noted that educators who advocated for technology integration into the learning process had the impression that it will improve learning and prepare students to effectively participate in the twenty-first-century workplace. It has been observed that new digital technologies have been widely used in higher education institutions ( Dogruer et al., 2011 ), and this efficiently helps students to carry out substantial research work ( Devi and Roy, 2012 ). Despite these possible benefits of the internet for learning, instructing, and research, there is the limited provision of efficient internet services in most tertiary institutions ( Ureigho et al., 2006 ) in developing countries. Muniandy (2010) comment that the adoption of the internet would be meaningless in the educational settings without appropriate internet facilities.

Like in any other higher institution of learning around the globe, Nigerian university undergraduate students are often required to conduct diverse research work as they progress through their final year. The qualities of a student's research and learning are largely dependent on the quality, quantity and current internet resources referred to ( Ilo and Ifijeh, 2010 ; Mbofong, 2003 ). This has attracted research debate on the use of internet in contemporary educational contexts in developing countries such as Nigeria. However, most of these studies predominantly highlight its impact on academic performance (grades), communication, and general educational purposes ( Ifinedo, 2017 ; Cerretani et al., 2016 ; Rashid and Han, 2016 ; Nwagwu et al., 2009 ; Adegboji and Toyo, 2006 ; Oduwole, 2004 ). This indicates that detailed studies that try to interpret student perspective on internet access and usefulness for research and academic learning are still in their embryonic phase ( Emeka and Nyeche, 2016 ; Fasae and Adegbilero-Iwari, 2015 ; Adekunmisi et al., 2013 ; Nwezeh, 2010 ). It is worthwhile to mention that most of these documented researches based merely on students within Southern, Eastern and Western region ( Afolabi, 2015 ; Otunla, 2013 ; Agboola, 2010 ; Ani, 2010 ; Nwagwu et al., 2009 ; Omotayo, 2006 ; Adogbeji and Akporhonor, 2005 ). This strong focus has led to a limited research conducted among students' in the North-Eastern part which is amid slower technological change ( Ahmed and Bukar, 2016 ; Emeka and Nyeche, 2016 ). Though, there is evidence to show that a limited proportion of the population has access to the Internet at home, yet, little is known if students in this region incorporate this technology into their research and learning ( Navaretti and Tarr, 2017 ; Hartnett and Russell, 2002 ). Poushter (2016) observed that technological development in universities within this region is not much advanced and very little research in the implementation of information and communication technology (ICT) has been undertaken as compared to research in universities in other regions of Nigeria.

This backdrop provides a scope for an in-depth research into the students' experience and perspective on the access and utility of electronic sources for academic research and learning. Thus, it is pertinent to research into how these students find ways to make use of the internet to facilitate their academic research and learning. This also calls for exploring the challenges facing the students in this region as it relates to internet usage for academic research and learning. It is believed that the outcomes of this current study will contribute to enhancing the empirical research results that are beneficial for informing teaching and learning practice in higher education. This will also provide an understanding of the application and appreciation of internet resources by students residing in this overlooked region.

2. Related works

In recent decades, research evidence has shown that the advances in information technology and the development of computers have affected student approaches to research and learning in the contemporary higher educational settings. Studies have shown that technology is one of the key modifiers of human behaviour ( Gan and Li, 2018 ; Greitemeyer and Osswald, 2011 ), and this has now become a norm for social interactions ( McLeod, 2008 ). In this view, computer and internet technologies have been indicated to influence human behaviour ( Roudbaraki and Esfidvajani, 2011 ; Weimann, 2006 ), and this, in turn, has positively affected students' research and academic learning.

Several studies have supported that the internet utilization is most prevalent among younger, educated individuals ( Poushter et al., 2015 ; Hoffman et al., 2000 ). For example, Ivwighreghweta and Igere (2014) investigated the impact of the internet on academic performance in selected tertiary institutions in Nigeria and found that most of the students were computer literate and merely access relevant academic materials through the Cyber Café. Most of the students disclosed that the internet usage improves their examination preparation. E-journals and e-books were among the resources often used. However, power outage, slow internet speed, lack of computer terminals, too many hits or information overload and insufficient computer were some of the problems impeding effective internet access or usage.

Studies have found that internet mobile learning among college/university students has brought about a profound and diverse pool of knowledge. For example, Ahmed and Bukar (2016) found that the majority of Adamawa state university students in Nigeria who utilize the internet for educational and entertainment purposes depended on their mobile devices for internet access. Fasae and Adegbilero-Iwari (2015) discovered that science students in Nigerian private universities who regularly access the internet facilities on their smartphones (such as e-mails, social media and search engines), utilize it for educational and communication purposes. However, poor internet connectivity and the high cost of data subscription were identified to be the major challenges confronting the students. According to Agboola (2010) , there is a high level of mobile device dependency for internet access among agricultural science students in Nigeria. In the same survey, it was found that most of the students who utilize the internet for educational and entertainment purposes prefer to use textbooks among print materials and the essential electronic agricultural library (TEEAL) among the electronic resources. Otunla (2013) reported that a considerable number of undergraduate students in Nigeria accessed and use the internet through their mobile telephones and laptops using a modem as a router, whereas a few accessed the internet through the University digital centre and none accessed through the University Library. It was likewise shown that the internet made data retrieval easier, resulting in a positive impact on the student's educational development.

A more recent study that examined the use of smartphones among college students in Nigeria showed that 38.2 percent spent between 1 and 5 hours per day on their phones, 98 percent used their phones to communicate with family members and friends, about 75 percent used their smartphones for social networking, and only 24 percent use their smartphones for academic activities ( Nwachukwu and Onyenankeya, 2017 ). This result suggests that some students do not use mobile devices to facilitate their studies. Another study conducted among Nigerian students, identified the positive effects of mobile use for education to include easy access to information, instructional usage and personal convenience ( Mojaye, 2015 ). Shonola et al. (2016) study on two Universities in South-West Nigeria found that the students use their portable devices to exchange education-related messages and academic files with classmates, search the internet and library databases for academic materials, practice online quizzes or tests and hold discussions with classmates among others. Consistent with this result, undergraduate students at Igbinedion University, Nigeria reported that they primarily use mobile phones to search for academic materials and to consult scholarly articles for assignments. They also outlined that using the internet on their mobile phones enables them to search and access academic information instantly ( Mamudu and Oyewo, 2015 ).

The usage of mobile phones among students has not only been experienced in the Nigerian context but also in western countries, where studies on mobile learning have been well documented. For example, a survey found that medical students in the University of Coimbra had a positive attitude towards the utilization of mobile learning and applications. Although, the authors demonstrated that students were willing to promote its utilization for learning, yet, they had an average willingness to adopt it due to social influence and behavioural intention, such as perception towards ease of use and the reliableness of this technology for learning ( Briz-Ponce et al., 2017 ). A meta-analysis that summarizes the effects of mobile technology on students' attitudes, engagement, and achievement found that learning content quality, content design quality, interactivity, functionality, user-interface design, accessibility, personalization, responsiveness, including promoting of the collaborative learning environment to be the primary antecedents of internet mobile learning acceptance among students ( Fabian et al., 2018 ). An earlier study conducted by Gikas and Grant (2013) on students from three universities across the US, established that Mobile computing devices and the use of social media provided opportunities for interaction, and collaboration, as well as allowed them to engage in content creation and communication. This result is consistent with a survey conducted among medical students at Johns Hopkins University, which revealed that mobile technology usage improved how they learn new material and preference for classes that incorporate information technology. This means that the perceived usefulness and simplicity of usage of mobile technology and the internet could enhance students' behavioural intention to use mobile application for learning which in turn improves learning and inquiry.

Reflecting these results in the Nigerian context, a more recent investigation on mobile learning disclosed that students' initial acceptance of internet mobile learning is due to gratifying factors, such as perceived self-efficacy, outcome anticipations and perceived support for enhancing social ties ( Ifinedo, 2017 ). Similarly, Bashir et al. (2008) revealed that most students use the internet for course-related reading and research needs, due to its user-friendliness and time-saving. They also found Google and Yahoo to be the primary search engine used by the students. Adekunmisi et al. (2013) discovered that most of the students at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria use internet facilities, such as e-mails, web pages and search engines for chatting and academic activities. Omotayo (2006) reported that most of the students of Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria access the internet through cyber cafes, however, both male and female students used the internet differently. Although the rate at which the internet was utilized in both groups were alike. The male participants were more addicted to internet usage when compared with the female, although both genders lacked formal training on internet usage, as such they learn from friends. Nwagwu et al. (2009) affirm that most of the students of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, utilize the internet for educational purposes, however, it varied with age, level of study and faculty. It was observed that those in the higher classes utilize the internet more often and have lesser time for leisure and entertainment. The students believed that the information derived from the internet is useful and trustworthy. This is consistent with Alshahrani et al. (2017) study, which concluded that the use of the internet has a profound impact on students' academic self-confidence, self-reliance and student lecturer connectedness.

There is research evidence to show that internet utilization has a profound impact on research and learning activities ( Fasae and Adegbilero-Iwari, 2015 ; Adekunmisi et al., 2013 ; Nwezeh, 2010 ). Nwezeh's (2010) indicated that most of the academic staff and students in Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria, found the use of email and Web worthwhile for research and information retrieval. A similar empirical evidence proposed that the use of e-mail for academic-related activities should be encouraged among students in order to harness its full potential in improving academic performance ( Nketiah-Amponsah et al., 2017 ). Afolabi (2015) remark that, although online learning tools are available at Adekunle Ajasin University in Nigeria, its usage has not been fully integrated into their curriculum. Yet, students and lecturers are willing to utilize it whenever it is implemented. In this regard, a prior study has proven that the internet enables Delta state university students in Abraka, Nigeria to access relevant and up to date materials for their research work without travelling to other places to source for research materials ( Adogbeji and Akporhonor, 2005 ). Bankole (2013) remarked that students at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Nigeria, access the internet from homes and commercial cybercafé. The survey also discovered that the daily usage of the internet facilities such as Google, Yahoo, and Google Scholar search engines were often employed for communication purposes, research and updating of knowledge and this improved their academic activities. Yet, slow internet connection and inadequate institutional internet facilities were highlighted as the constraint to proper access and usage of the internet. Additionally, Oduwole (2004) argues that the internet has a great impact on the research outcomes of students in Nigerian Universities of Agriculture, as this enables them to have fast communication with their schoolmates, as well as offer a platform for accessing and publishing papers online. Other evident studies conducted among Delta State University, Abraka, students in Nigeria reported that the internet contributed significantly to the easiness of research through downloading materials ( Adegboji and Toyo, 2006 ), as well as enhanced the cognitive operation of data dissemination ( Kamba, 2008 ). In contrast, Ureigho et al.'s (2006) study on the impact of the internet on learning, teaching and research in higher institutions found that students and staff use the internet primarily for online chatting and e-mailing, rather than accessing research materials. Emeka and Nyeche (2016) reported that the employment of the internet by the students of the University of Abuja, Nigeria enhanced the skill and capacity of students. Though, lack of computer skills, slow internet server and the problem of paying for online were found to be some of the problems encountered in the use of the internet.

Indeed, studies conducted in many regions of Nigeria, particularly in the western and southern states, have established that students extensively use the internet for their research work ( Ani, 2010 ), and this has progressively improved students' academic performance in this region ( Ogedebe, 2012 ). However, there has been very limited research conducted among students in the Northeastern part of Nigeria. It is worthwhile to note that, in this region, technological development in Universities is not much advanced and very little research has been carried out to show the implementation of ICT as compared to Universities in other parts of Nigeria. Thus, there is a need for a study to investigate how students in this region find ways to make use of the internet to facilitate their studies. This paper, therefore, explores the students' access and their beliefs about the academic benefit of utilizing the internet and digital resources for educational research and learning. To achieve this intention, this study considers four (4) fundamental objectives:

  • ➢ To determine internet resources accessibility pattern among undergraduate students.
  • ➢ To demonstrate the students perceived benefits from the use of internet resources for academic research and learning.
  • ➢ To understand the search engines frequently used by the students for educational inquiry.
  • ➢ To realize the challenges confronting the students regarding the use of the internet for educational research and learning.

3.1. Research design

In an attempt to answer the research questions raised in this study, a mixed method approach was used. A quantitative survey that consists of the use of questionnaires ( Creswell and Creswell, 2017 ; Babbie, 2012 ), were administered among 300 students to ascertain the place of the internet on their academic research and learning. Furthermore, to understand the students' perspective towards the influence of accessing and utilizing electronic resources for academic learning and research productivity more deeply, a focus group was conducted with 18 students. These dual methods were applied in this study because evidence has shown that they generate more data, explicate the issues raised, as well as provide an understanding of the underlying reasons and opinions from a small or large group in a study ( Adogbeji and Akporhonor, 2005 ; Ndagi, 1999 ). Studies have similarly revealed that focus groups are widely used in academic research to examine attitudes, feelings, and experiences ( Hamid et al., 2015 ), which permit students who participate to react and to build upon the responses of other members or to ‘think synergically in a group setting’ ( Klein et al., 2007 ). In line with this, to support the survey in this investigation, a focus group is considered the most appropriate method.

3.2. Study area and sampling/selection procedure

3.2.1. selection procedure for the quantitative survey participants.

A total of 11 public universities exist in North – Eastern Nigeria. This includes Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi; Adamawa State University, Mubi; Bauchi State University, Gadau; Borno State University, Maiduguri; Federal University Gashua, Yobe State; Federal University Kashere, Gombe; Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State; Gombe State University, Gombe; Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola; Taraba State University, Janlingo; University of Maiduguri, Borno State; Yobe State University, Damaturu. Therefore, to select the institutions used in this study, the researchers applied a simple random sampling in a form of balloting technique. The institution was selected through pick without replacement to include Taraba State University, Jalingo; Adamawa State University, Mubi and the University of Maiduguri, Borno State. This study focusses on the North Eastern geopolitical zone of Nigeria because, until today, there are but limited studies carried out in this region which is still witnessing slower technological change. Though a moderate proportion of the population has access to the Internet at home, little is known if students incorporate this technology into their research and learning in their respective educational settings. Consequently, it is essential to explore this aspect to better understand the student's perspective as it regards to the internet access and utility for academic research and learning, as well as to reveal the challenges faced by students in this region.

Only the final year students of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/Humanities where the targeted participants from the three universities, which comprised of around 1500 students (retrieved from the Registrar's office of the three Universities). This choice was because these faculties host the largest number of students in the selected universities. It was not easy to study the entire population due to time and financial constraint, so a part of the population was selected to represent the entire population. To obtain the study sampled size, a sample size calculator (calculator.net), with 95% confidence level, 5% confidence interval, and 50% population proportion was used and this entry generated a total number of (n = 306) participants. Thus, (n = 102) respondents were selected each from the three institutions under investigation. These participants fell within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/Humanities, consisting of ‘Languages and Linguistics’; ‘Geography’; ‘Political Sciences’; ‘Sociology’; ‘Mass Communication’; ‘Public Administration’; ‘Philosophy’; ‘Theatre art, and History. The first to third-year students were excluded from this study because it is believed that students carry out their research projects in their final year. As such, only the final year students participated in this survey, because they have had a series of assignments such as classwork/homework as well as other research work from their first year to their final year and possess a fuller understanding of the rudiment and the challenges involved in the use of the internet for academic research. Hence, the investigators believed that the final year students will give a better response to the questions raised by this study.

3.2.1.1. Brief overview of the selected institutions' in North East Nigeria

  • ➢ Taraba State University (TSU) : The Taraba State Government established Taraba State University, Jalingo in 2008, to widen access to University education for Taraba State indigenes and promote economic development in the country. Right from inception, the University set out for itself a goal that is captured in its motto – Harnessing Natures gift. The University is guided, by the national and international manpower needs usually accredited by the National Universities Commission, Abuja (Retrieved from TSU website at https://www.tsuniversity.edu.ng/brief-history/ ).
  • ➢ Adamawa State University (ADSU) : Adamawa State University, Mubi was established in January 2002 by the Adamawa State University Law No. 10 of 2001. The University is located in Mubi town, in the Northern Senatorial District of Adamawa State, Nigeria. The University is the first State Government owned University in the North East sub-region of Nigeria. Since establishment, the University has graduated a total of four sets of students, 67 in 2005/2006 session, 200 in 2006/2007 session, 309 in 2007/2008 session and 353 in 2008/2009 session totalling 929 graduates. At present, the University has 4600 undergraduate students and 384 pursuing Postgraduate Diplomas and higher degrees. The total number of academic staff of the University is 229 supported by 52 visiting and 7 part-time lecturers. These are complemented by 166 senior non-academic staff and 281 junior staff of different cadres (Retrieved from ADSU website at https://www.adsu.edu.ng/about-us/ ).
  • ➢ The University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID): The University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) is located in Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno State in northeast Nigeria. The university was created by the federal government in 1975, with the intention of it becoming one of the country's principal higher-education institutions. It enrols about 25,000 students in its combined programs, which include a college of medicine and faculties of agriculture, arts, dentistry, education, engineering, law, management science, pharmacy, science, social science, and veterinary medicine. With the encouragement of the federal government, the university has recently been increasing its research efforts, particularly in the fields of agriculture and conflict resolution, and expanding the university press. The university is the major higher institution of learning in the north-eastern part of the country (Retrieved from UNIMAID website at http://www.unimaid.edu.ng/about.html ).

As at the time this investigation was conducted, the researchers observed that there was a lack of adequate internet facilities in the sampled universities, suggesting that the Cybercafé available was not functioning effectively, the information communication centre was debilitated, and there was no provision of Wi-Fi. As a result, the student device other means to access and utilize the internet for their studies.

3.2.2. Selection procedure for the focus group participants

For the focus group participants, the authors purposively selected a total number of 18 class representatives, six each from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/Humanities in the three selected universities (See Table 1 ). This choice was based merely on their long time of service (first to final year) and have arrived at a fuller understanding of the influence of accessing and utilizing electronic resources for academic inquiry. However, there are factors that downsized the number of selected participants such as unwillingness to sign the consent form which prompted the researchers to use the available participants.

The focus group participants profile.

3.3. Procedure for data collection

3.3.1. procedure for the quantitative (questionnaire) survey data collection.

Three hundred and six (306) copies of structured questionnaires were randomly administered to the students in their lecture theatres with the authorization and assistance of their lecturers. Two research assistants were also employed to facilitate this process.

The survey questions used in this study was developed by the authors. However, items were adopted from previous relevant studies ( Ahmed and Bukar, 2016 ; Apuke, 2016 ; Ani, 2010 ; Afolabi, 2015 ; Bankole, 2013 ; Dogruer et al., 2011 ) and modified to suit into this present investigation. This was done to ensure content validity ( Chang and Tung, 2008 ). Additionally, the questions were further reviewed by six experts, which include two each in the field of communication, educational technology, and computer sciences respectively. After thorough scrutiny of the questions in the questionnaire, the experts expunged irrelevant questions and further suggested questions that aid in answering the objectives raised in this investigation.

The data were collected within a period of 8 weeks during the 2017/2018 academic session. One hundred and two (102) copies of the questionnaire each were distributed respectively to the three selected universities under investigation. Of the 306 distributed questionnaires, 250 (UNIMAID = 84; ADSU = 83; TSU = 83) were duly filled and returned, given a response rate of 81.7%. The questionnaire covered five sections, including demographic characteristics of respondents; the internet resource accessibility pattern among the students; the students perceived benefits from the use of internet resources for academic research and learning; the search engines frequently used by the students for educational inquiry and the challenges confronting the students regarding the use of the internet for educational research and learning. Additionally, the questionnaire comprised of both closed and open-ended questions, which was applied to understand the respondents' opinions/views.

3.3.2. Procedure for the qualitative (focus group) data collection

Three (3) focus group discussions with six members in each group were held at the students' universities without the presence of the lecturers. This was carried out to study in in-depth the student's attitudes and experiences. After the researchers got consent from the three universities under investigation, each student in the focus group completed a consent form giving them permission to participate in this study. The individual focus group discussion lasted for about 60–90 minutes to complete. The discussion was audio-recorded and transcribed manually. During these sessions, the second author took notes to have better and accurate results. The participants were assured of confidentiality and that only pseudonym, that is, a code would be used to represent individual students. For example, the code TSU 1 represent Student No. 1 from Taraba state university focus group, ADSU 4 represent Student No. 4 from Adamawa state University focus group and UNIMAID 6 represent Student No. 6 from the University of the Maiduguri focus group session. Table 1 demonstrates further on how each group is composed and referred to in the analysis. In this regard, the focus group examined students' perspectives and experiences on the perceived effect of accessing and utilizing electronic resources for academic research and learning.

3.4. Ethical consideration and approval

Ethical approval is needed for any research that involves human participants to ensure that the dignity, rights, safety and well-being of all participants are the primary consideration of the research project. In order to adhere to the sampled institution's policies on research involving human subjects, an application for ethics approval was submitted to the research ethics committee termed as the “research and promotion unit” through the Dean (s) of student affairs. The application consists of informing concerning to the aims of the study, length of the surveys, the information that would be gauged through the questionnaire survey, and how the data would be collected, stored, and accessed. Furthermore, the committee (s) were informed that the participants are assured of their confidentiality and that personal information such as names would not be used in the final analysis of the research. As soon as the committee reviewed the application which took about 2 weeks, the senior research ethics administrator (s) granted permission for the study to be undertaken.

4.1. Data analysis

The data generated from the survey (i.e. administered questionnaire) were analysed using the 2016 Microsoft Excel statistical software using frequency counts and simple percentages presented in tables and graphs. In this study, the focus group responses were thematically analysed. This comprised of organizing and categorizing responses into patterns to generate various themes ( Braun and Clarke, 2006 ). Consistent with Krueger and Casey (2002) notion, the focus group interviews were transcribed and the additional non-verbal behaviours identified during the discussion session were noted. This includes head nods, smiles, frowns, or signs of boredom and was aligned with the transcription where appropriate. Additionally, other notes such as student statements were written down to aid in drawing connections between the interviews and the research question. Rather than looking for differences, the analysis focused on identifying common and collective responses which were then categorized and discussed thematically as it regards to students' perception and experience of using the internet for academic uses.

4.2. Socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents'

Table 2 presents the combined data on gender distribution of respondents in the respective institutions. Overall, they were more male (56%), than female (43.6%) participants. This could be due to the fact that in the Northeastern region of Nigeria, the male gender is given more priority to enroll into tertiary intuition than female gender. Specifically, UNIMAID had more male (59.5%) participants when compared with ADSU (57.8%) and TSU (51.8%), while TSU (48.2%) had more female participants than ADSU (42.2%) and UNIMAID (40.5%).

Gender distribution of respondents in each institution.

Table 3 highlights the age distribution of respondents in the respective institutions. Overall, a slight majority of the respondents (58.4%) ranged between 23 and 29 years, (30.4%) were 29 and above, and only (11.2%) were between 16 to 22 years. This could be due to the fact that only final year students participated in this study. ADSU had more respondents (35%, aged 29 and above) when compared with UNIMAID (28.6%) and TSU (27.7%).

Age distribution.

Generally, the participants across the three institutions came from Languages and Linguistics (n = 35) 14%, ‘Geography’ (n = 30) 12%, ‘Political Sciences’ (n = 30) 12%, ‘Sociology’ (n = 20) 8%, ‘Mass Communication’ (n = 40) 16% ‘Public Administration (n = 20) 8%; ‘Philosophy’ (n = 25) 10% ‘Theatre art (n = 30) 12%, and History (n = 20) 8%. Conversely, the focus group participant profile showed that (n = 9) 50% were female and (n = 9) 50% were male students with the age range of 23–29 (see Table 1 ).

4.3. Internet resources accessibility, and its perceived benefits for academic research and learning

Table 4 is derived from the quantitative survey carried out among the 250 students drawn from three universities in North Eastern Nigeria. It presents the responses of internet availability, utilization, and impact on the student's academic research and learning. Results revealed that across the three institutions a total of (86.8%) students claimed they do not have adequate access to internet facilities on their campus. On the contrary, a trivial number of respondents (13.2%) asserted that they have adequate access to the internet on their campus. Compared to ADSU (12%) and UNIMAID (11.9%), TSU (15.7%) had more students that claimed to have adequate internet facilities on campus. The survey also found that about (89.6%) of the students affirmed that they make use of the internet for academic purpose, whilst (10.4%) do not. The students of TSU were heavier users of the internet compared with the other two institutions because about (96.4%) use the internet for their academic purposes.

Internet resources accessibility, and its perceived benefits for academic research and learning among the students of Northeastern Nigerian Universities.

In view of how much they employ the internet for academic purpose, more than half (62%) of the students claimed to use the internet on a daily basis, followed by (18%) who use it 2 to 5 times a week, (9.6%) use it once in a week, while a trivial number (10.4%) maintained a neutral response (see Table 4 ). None of the students reported using the internet only when they have an assignment. It was also observed that TSU students (78.3%) use the internet more on a daily basis compared with ADSU (50%) and UNIMAID (40%).

With regards to the medium students use to access the internet in Northeastern Nigerian universities, results across the three sampled institutions showed that a slight majority of the students (52.8%) averred that they make use of their handsets/smartphones to access the internet, which might be due to the lack of efficient internet facilities on their campus. This is not surprising as (16.4%) of the students asserted that they use the cybercafé outside their university premises, and (8%) make use of their laptop and modem to access the internet. Only (12.4%) claim to use school café and (10.4%) remain neutral to the query put forward. Of the three institutions, ADSU (60.2%) students relied more on their mobile phones to access the internet compared with UNIMAID (50%) and TSU (48.2%).

Most of the students (84%) who responded to the questionnaire believed that the internet has and is still improving their academic research. However, few students (16%) claimed that the use of the internet has not actually enhanced their academic research and learning. TSU students (96.4%) had a strong conviction that the internet has and is still improving their academic research than UNIMAID (83.3%) and ADSU (72.3%). With respect to the perceived benefits, students across the three institutions gained from internet utilization for their research and learning. A slight majority (52.8%) had the impression that increased access to current and valuable research found on the internet has been so beneficial and has improved their research in addition to other academic learning. Some of the students (16.4%) believe that the internet has facilitated their research process, that is, a task that would be completed in a long period of time now takes a shorter duration to complete. In addition, (12.4%) of the students acknowledged that information is easily retrieved from the internet and this has been so beneficial to their academic research and learning, while (8%) held the notion that the availability of numerous sources on the internet has brought a tremendous improvement in their academic research and learning, and (10.4%) maintained undecided response to the question raised. Of the three institutions, ADSU students (60.2%) had a stronger viewpoint that increased access to current and valuable research found on the internet has been so valuable, which in turn improved their research, as well as other academic learning.

4.4. The search engine and internet sources mostly used by the students for their academic research and learning

The types of the search engine used among the students varied across the institutions (See Fig. 1 ). About (52.8%) of students had more preference for Google and Google Scholar, followed by Yahoo search (16.4%), Bing (12.4%) and wink (8%), while (10.4%) were neutral. The findings demonstrated that ADSU students (60.2 %) were heavier users of Google and Google Scholar, followed by UNIMAID (50%) and TSU (48.2%). Whilst TSU (24%) students claim to use Yahoo search more than UNIMAID (16.7%) and ADSU (8.4%).

Fig. 1

Search engine used.

Another target of this present study was to determine the internet sources preferred by the students. As shown in Fig. 2 , there were distinctive variations in their preferences. About (50.8%) of the students preferred online journals, followed by electronic books (18.4%), online projects or dissertation/thesis (12.4%) and conference proceedings online (8%). On the other hand, (10.4%) of the students remained neutral. Out of the three institutions, ADSU students (60.2%) had more preference for online journals compared with UNIMAID (50%) and TSU (42.2%). It was likewise observed that TSU students (30.1%) preferred electronic books compared with UNIMAID (16.7%) and ADSU (8.4%).

Fig. 2

Most used internet sources for academic purpose.

4.5. The challenges faced by students in accessing and utilizing the internet facilities

Approximately 86% of students claimed that their universities do not have an efficient cybercafé and internet facility. This problem appears to be more reported in UNIMAID and ADSU than TSU, suggesting that TSU somewhat have internet facilities comparable to the other two institutions. However, most of the students believed that the inefficient and inadequate internet facility within their university premises might have limited their access. This has resulted in the over-dependency on their mobile telephone, as well as purchasing internet data plans from other service providers such as mobile telecommunication company (MTN Group), Globacom, Etisalat and Airtel telecommunications company. This is one major aspect that hinders the student's regular access and utilization of the internet, which likely slowed down the pace of carrying out assignments given to them in school. It was observed that the subscription of data plan is sometimes problematic, as there are time lags in the internet connectivity and slow access speed of these networks.

A considerable number of the students had the opinion that compared to the higher institution in developed countries, their institutions need an electronic library, where they can easily access scientific journals from databases such as Elsevier, Springer, Taylor and Francis, Wiley, SAGE and Emerald. They believed that this will lessen the reliance on Google, Google Scholar and open access journals as well as will provide a means to explore other related scientific papers, in order to elevate their academic learning and research beyond its current situation. Some of the students observed that they come across substantial and relevant scientific papers online but could not gain access to them, due to lack of subscription to scientific databases by their institutions. The students noted that most scientific papers cost from $15 upward and this often restrict their access to scientific journals, as well as affecting their quality of research. The students also believed that the irregularity of power supply in their University premises, dormitory and homes, discourages internet accessibility for academic purposes, as sometimes they run out of power/battery on their mobile and Laptop devices. This submission means there is insufficient digital readiness among the sampled institutions. Nevertheless, the students still make it a priority to harness the essence of the internet through other self-generated means, and this has enhanced their research and learning to an extent.

4.6. The effect of accessing and utilizing electronic resources for academic research and learning

4.6.1. students perceived benefits from the use of internet resources for research and learning.

This section presents the results obtained from the 18 focus group participants. See Table 1 in the methodology section, which demonstrates how each group was composed and referred to in the analysis. The focus group considered the aspects at which the internet has improved the students' academic learning and research. The students highlighted several benefits in which the internet has aided their learning and research:

4.6.1.1. Enable students to carry out research in advance/ahead of time

The students stated that the use of internet sources has brought about positive change in their academic activities in general. They reported that searching for materials via e-books and e-journals enabled them to carry out research ahead of time, thereby easing and improving their academic research and learning. In line with this view, a student from Taraba state University comment that:

I do not require moving a far distance to source for materials anymore, I find almost everything I need online within split seconds and this has enhanced my research work [TSU 6].

This view is consistent with a participant from the Adamawa State University who remarked that:

Indeed, the internet is a boon to us, its usage has brought some positive effects on my academic growth [ADSU 3].

Buttressing on this notion, a student from the University of Maiduguri believed that:

The emergence of the internet has changed the custom of travelling to other libraries and universities within Nigeria for the search of relevant materials to support research [UNIMAID 2].

4.6.1.2. Tackling of multiple homework

Most of the participants had the perspective that internet usage has helped them to tackle multiple and tasking or difficult homework that was given to them by different tutors. They also agreed that the advent of the internet has made it possible for them to source and download relevant materials required for their academic research and learning, and this has enabled them to conduct multiple assignments within a given deadline.

In this respect, a student from the Adamawa State University observed that:

On several occasions, our tutors give a series of assignments with deadlines, and this has been often tackled using the internet, which I believe has eased my burden. I only need to use up my time and search various databases available to retrieve relevant materials [ADSU 6].

Similarly, a student from the Taraba State University comment that:

Sometimes when I am given a series of an assignment I feel so worried and disheartened, yet, when I set out doing research using the internet I feel at ease as most of the materials I come across are related to what I require. This cuts down my burden and helps me in multitasking as well as enhancing my learning process [TSU 5]

In the same vein, students from the University of Maiduguri concurred that the utilization of the internet has assisted them in carrying out tasking assignment within a short period of time, which is believed to have improved their research capability as well as their Cumulative Grade Points Average (CGPA). As such, one of the students from this focus group advocated that:

The ‘taps’ provided in Mozilla Firefox and Chrome enables us to open numerous pages simultaneously while navigating from one page to another to read pertinent materials. Before the advent of the internet, it was difficult to perform given multiple assignments in a lesser time, due to insufficient sources. As of then, students relied merely on printed sources in the library. Nowadays, the numerous electronic sources available have enhanced our research and academic output. Indeed, my CGPA has been enhanced when compared with my other classmates who do not frequently use the internet for their academic activities [UNIMAID 3].

From the above student's responses, the utilization of various internet resources for an academic purpose has assisted them in conducting multiple and difficult assignments in a short period of time.

4.6.1.3. Widen the scope of reading and learning

Most of the students claimed that the role of the internet has also permitted comparing of different forms of literature that best conforms to each homework or classwork given to them by their respective tutors, this has inspired a broader scope of interpretation, reading and learning. In addition, they observed that the internet contributed to the easiness of research through downloading materials that support their study. They likewise believed that this has enhanced their academic research skills and learning.

One student from the Adamawa State University focus group emphasized that:

The internet as an online tool for research has widened our scope of reading and learning. It has made data retrieval easier, resulting in a positive impact on our educational research and learning development [ADSU 1].

A student from the Taraba State University focus group asserted that:

I do not need to depend on one source when utilizing the internet, I just move from one source to another, comparing and at the end, select the best and suitable source which I believe to have enhanced my academic research and learning [TSU 3].

Congruently, a student from the same focus group session commented that:

The use of internet resources such as Wikipedia, Google and Google Scholar has improved our access to information on various courses, which I feel has greatly upgraded our scope of reading and learning. This has also resulted in a more serious academic achievement [TSU 1].

4.6.1.4. Enhance self-learning

It was found that the use of the internet enhanced most of the students' self-directed learning. The students claimed that there were able to discover new knowledge related to their courses on their own or together with their peers. They also opined that the availability of how-do-it online videos, such as YouTube tutorial videos, has extended their skills in research and has helped them to get conversant to certain practical and technical aspect of their various courses. One history student from the University of Maiduguri perceived that:

The online YouTube tutorial has exposed me to different prior and recent research trends and evidentiary findings of researchers, which in turn has infused and gave me the required knowledge for improving my research. For example, there are historical events that I watch on YouTube, which has really influenced my learning process. Courses such as Advanced History has been made easily understood through YouTube online Videos [UNIMAID 1].

Drawn from the students' responses, it could be deduced that the students in the sampled Universities believed that the use of the internet, most especially YouTube is improving their learning and research to an extent. Regarding the internet and class activities, the students alleged that although their individual institution has insufficient internet access and digital readiness, yet, they have become self-organized, resilience and resourceful using their mobile phones and other available means such as Cybercafé outside their university premises. These students believe that the use of the internet through the Google and Google Scholar search engine, improved their knowledge of research and learning at large, suggesting that the use of the internet stimulates the student-centred learning. Consistent with this view, a student remarked that:

Although subscribed scientific electronic databases are not yet available in our universities, moreover, some of our lecturers do not communicate with us via email. Still, I can claim that I do learn a lot through the internet on my mobile phone, and Universal Serial Bus (USB) modem on my laptop. The availability of Google and Google Scholar search engine has enhanced my learning. I feel the internet is a platform to educate and acquire more knowledge, and this has improved my CGPA [TSU 4].

The comments derived from the students demonstrated that they were relatively more self-directed when using the internet. The students at the University of Maiduguri believed that the internet has promoted self-learning, thereby developing their abilities to think critically and exercise analytical skills. In line with this, a student within this focus group commented that:

The use of the internet which has enhanced self-learning enables us to be more critical thinkers as we are exposed to a plethora of information. The student added that there is a proverb which says knowledge is power, thus, the internet has made us powerful critical thinkers [UNIMAID 3].

Similarly, in the same focus group session, a student remarked that:

I now make constructive comments in class due to the numerous research I conduct online and this has increased my intellectual capability to imagine beyond my peers. Also, I now think carefully before leaving a comment, so in a way, I believe the usage of the internet has not only improved self-learning but promotes critical thinking [UNIMAID 4].

In the same way, a mass communication student at the Taraba State University ascertained that:

Through the internet, I have been able to learn more about graphic communication, motion graphic videos and 3D animations. Although our tutors teach us these subjects in class, yet, when I study alone via the internet, I get an in-depth explanation, which I feel betters my academic learning [TSU 01].

The above students' comment, suggest that the utilization of the internet to an extent has improved the quality of their overall learning outcome.

4.6.1.5. Encourages and enhances peer learning

It was found that all the students in the various focus group were affirmative that the advent of the internet helps them share information with their peers to support each other's learning. This is evident as students share knowledge with each other through email and other social technologies such as WhatsApp and Facebook. They likewise gained knowledge from their peers through materials collected for group assignment on wikis, including comments that other students make on their group chats. For example, a student in the Adamawa State University focus group claimed:

I am always online when compared to some of my classmates. This always prompts them to ask if I have found new relevant information to share. I always share useful information discovered on the Internet in our group chats, as well as post them on Facebook. It is now easier to share substantial information with my peers which I believe has enhanced my peer's knowledge [ADSU 4].

Consistent with this comment, another student in the same focus group stated that:

At large, a greater occurrence of both off-curriculum (informal) and curriculum-based interactions among students is enabled by the internet. I share the internet retrieved information with my fellow classmates through Skype and WhatsApp Video calls. I likewise post useful downloaded tutorial videos to them via the same medium. From their remarks, the access and use of the internet have greatly improved their academic growth [ADSU 2].

Similarly, a theatre art student at the University of Maiduguri asserts:

Through the internet, I and my course mates are able to communicate and collaborate on the course content by using mobile computing devices as well as laptops to text message and email. This has made it comfortable for us to share information that is vital and up-building. I recalled when we were given a very difficult assignment task, I searched the internet but could not find any related sources, one of my classmates who understood the utilization of the internet better, found a relevant material and emailed it to me. This material enhanced my assignment, which in turn improve my CGPA. With a smile on his face, the student exclaimed ‘I had an A in that course’ [UNIMAID 5].

These findings suggest the students perceived that informal interactions such as friendly chat among friends were often converted to academic debate on course topics. Additionally, the students claimed that they share knowledge with each other through internet technological devices such as email and social networking sites, including Facebook and WhatsApp.

4.6.1.6. Ameliorates examination preparation

Internet search engines such as Google and Google Scholar as well as electronic sources including E-Journals, E-books and E-Conferences were particularly helpful to the student in their preparations for the examination. Most of the focus group members agreed that they regularly utilize Wikipedia as it offers initial orientation and basic information that occasionally simplifies and clarifies certain topics. However, some of the students believe that it has limited knowledge or importance when compared with other sources such as library resources, including e-books, learning management systems, and academic literature databases. In addition, the entire students that participated in the focus group divulged that the use of internet has bettered their examination preparations. For example, a student at the University of Maiduguri remarked that:

There are subjects or topics that I do not truly attain a better understanding in the class even when taught by our tutors, only with the help of the internet, I have been able to source extra and simplified materials that enhanced my understanding of a subject or discipline before the exam. This has enhanced my intellectual capabilities as well as eases my examination preparations with positive results.

Likewise, students at the Taraba state university felt that they had the opportunities to support their course material through the internet. For instance, one of the students mentioned that:

The materials I retrieve online are added advantages to the lecture notes given to us by our lecturers [TSU 3].

These established that students better prepared for their examination with the aid of the internet. This also suggests that the students believe that the use of the internet supports their study and serve as a tool to enhance their academic performance, growth, research skills and learning, thereby leading to better results.

5. Discussion and conclusion

This current study explores undergraduate students perceived benefit of using the internet and digital resources for research and learning in the Northeastern Nigerian Universities with a focus on TSU, UNIMAID and ADSU. The findings of this work indicated that female enrollment in higher education in Northeastern Nigeria was lower compared with the male gender. This could be attributed to different phenomena, such as culture, religion, traditional beliefs and tribal issues, which further research could look into. It was observed that about 86.8% of students across the three universities claimed that they do not have adequate access to internet facilities on their campus. However, in comparison to the other two universities (ADSU 12% and UNIMAID 11.9%), TSU (15.7%) had more students that claimed they have adequate internet facilities on their campus. These findings suggest that there is a lack of efficient and effective cybercafé and internet facilities within their respective institution. This is consistent with a prior study, which found that undergraduate students require the internet to do their research work, however, it was not feasible due to poor access in their libraries, departments and information and communications technology centres. The same study showed that a vast number of the students depended on private internet services and cyber cafés ( Ani, 2010 ).

This current study also revealed that a large proportion of the students (89.6%) claimed to make use of the internet for their academic purposes, and more than half (62%) use the internet on a daily basis. However, there was a variation in the usage of the internet among students within the three institutions. It was found that TSU students (96.4%) use the internet more and about (78.3%) use it on a daily basis for their academic purposes when compared with UNIMAID (40%) and ADSU (50%) students. This result is contrary to Ureigho et al.'s (2006) who establish that students use the internet mainly for online chatting (24.89%) and e-mail (24.16%) purposes, rather than for research materials (23.21%). Juxtaposing these results, it could be suggested that the internet can be used differently by students in tertiary institutions in terms of academic research and learning, as well as leisure/entertainment.

Our results ascertained that a slim majority of the students (52.8%) averred that they access the internet via their handsets or smartphones. Others students (16.4%) profess that they use the cybercafé outside their university premises, and (8%) make use of their laptop and modem to access the internet, which intimates that there is a demand for efficient internet facilities on their campuses. This conforms with the study results of Ivwighreghweta and Igere (2014) which found that students frequently access the internet through the Cyber Café outside their university premises and use it for retrieving relevant academic resources. It was realized in this present study that ADSU (60.2%) students depended more on their mobile devices to access the internet compared with UNIMAID (50%) and TSU (48.2%). This result substantiates prior investigations that found undergraduate students depended on their mobile devices to access the internet for educational and entertainment purposes ( Ahmed and Bukar, 2016 ; Otunla, 2013 ; Agboola, 2010 ).

Across the three universities, it was realized that a substantial number of the students (84%) believed that the internet has and is still improving their academic research. TSU students (96.4%) had a stronger conviction that the internet has and is still improving their academic research than UNIMAID (83.3%) and ADSU (72.3%). In respect to the perceived benefits of internet utilization among students in terms of research and learning, more than half of the students (52.8%) asserted that access to current valuable research found on the internet has been so beneficial and this has improved their research and other academic learning. Our findings also revealed that about (16.4%) students believe that the internet has facilitated their research process, that is to say, a task that requires a long period of time to complete, now take a short duration to accomplish. About (12.4%) of the students acknowledged that information is easily retrieved from the internet and this has been so beneficial to their academic research and learning, while (8%) held the notion that the availability of numerous sources on the internet has brought a tremendous improvement in their academic research and learning. It was noted that out of the three institutions, students of ADSU (60.2%) were more affirmative that increased access to current and valuable research found on the internet is beneficial and enhances research and academic learning outcomes. This result reflects other findings which demonstrate that the internet contributes to the easiness of research through downloading materials as well as enhances the cognitive operation of information dissemination ( Emeka and Nyeche, 2016 ; Adekunmisi et al., 2013 ; Nwezeh, 2010 ).

Results obtained from this present study suggest that there was a slight variation in the search engine used by the students in the sampled institutions, although the rationale for this was not ascertained. Overall, across the three universities, results showed that a small majority of students had more preference for Google and Google Scholar (52.8%), and was followed by Yahoo search (16.4%). It was realized that ADSU students (60.2 %) were heavier users of Google and Google Scholar compared with the other two institutions. While TSU (24%) students claim to use Yahoo search more than UNIMAID and ADSU. Consistent with this result, Bashir et al. (2008) found Google and Yahoo search engine to be frequently used among students. Our study also showed that online journals were preferred by a somewhat majority of the students (50.8%) followed by electronic books (18.4%). However, it was noted that there was a variation in the students' preferences, ADSU students (60.2%) had more preference for online journals compared with UNIMAID (50%) and TSU (42.2%), while TSU students (30.1%) had a preference for electronic books compared with UNIMAID (16.7%) and ADSU (8.4%). This result conforms with a previous study which established that E-journals and E-books are among the resources that students mostly used in their research work ( Ivwighreghweta and Igere, 2014 ).

The insufficient digital readiness in the sampled institutions which appears to be more reported in UNIMAID and ADSU than TSU, prompted a considerable number of the students to assert that their institutions required an electronic library/database (e.g., Elsevier, Springer, Taylor and Francis, Wiley, and Emerald) where they can easily access scientific journals. They also feel that the irregularity of power supply in their dormitory, homes and University premises, discourages internet accessibility and usage for academic purposes. This result is similar to studies which found that internet server, the cost of paying for online services ( Emeka and Nyeche, 2016 ), power outage, slow internet speed, lack of computer terminals, too many hits or information overload and insufficient computers as the major factors militating effective access to the internet within Nigeria tertiary institutions ( Ivwighreghweta and Igere, 2014 ).

Our study revealed that students in the focus group perceived that internet utilization has helped them in carrying out research ahead of time, and this conforms with Adegboji and Toyo (2006) who found that the internet contributed to the easiness of students' research through downloading of relevant materials. Also, the focus group participants think that the internet assisted them in undertaking multiple home works, as well as widen their scope of reading and learning. They alleged that the internet has permitted comparisons of different types of related literature that suits their respective homework or classwork, and that this has resulted in a broader scope of interpretation, reading and learning. This is in harmony with a prior study, which found that the internet enables students to access relevant and up to date materials for their research ( Adogbeji and Akporhonor, 2005 ). The focus group participant likewise claimed that the internet promotes their self-learning as well as encourages and enhances peer learning. These students believed that through the internet, they were able to discover new knowledge related to their courses, individually or as a group. They feel that the availability of how-do-it online videos, such as YouTube tutorial, has broadened their academic research and have helped them to be conversant with certain practices and technical aspect of their various courses. This result supports Hamid et al.'s. (2015) findings, which establish that internet utilization helped Australian and Malaysian students in sharing of materials for a group assignment, and this, in turn, improved their self-directed learning.

The focus group participants also think that the internet helps them in ameliorating examination preparation, which is achieved through sourcing materials from search engines such as Google and Google Scholar, as well as electronic sources including E-Journals, E-books and E-Conferences. This is in line with previous investigations suggesting that the internet plays a significant role in assisting students for better preparation of their continuous assessment and semester examination, which had a positive impact on their results ( Ivwighreghweta and Igere, 2014 ; Ogedebe, 2012 ).

Conclusively, our study revealed that students of North-Eastern Nigerian universities, especially TSU, UNIMAID and ADSU perceived internet utilization to have a positive impact on their academic research and learning, despite the insufficient digital readiness by their respective institution. Regardless of the inefficient internet facilities on the sampled university premises, the students still attempt to be self-organized, resilience and resourceful. Therefore, further studies should examine to what extent students should be provided with help in terms of internet facilities, and to what extent they should rely on other means to develop their own strategies and resourcefulness.

5.1. Suggestions to improve internet access and usage in tertiary educational settings

Our study revealed that the students seem to do well with the help of their smartphone, as well as a laptop and modem to access the internet facilities such as email, internet search engines (Google and Google Scholar) and communication platforms, despite the inefficient provision of internet facilities on their campuses. Yet, there are challenges raised by the students that require attention. Thus, this study proposes the following suggestions to improve internet access and usage for educational research and learning in the studied area.

  • ➢ Tertiary institutions in developing countries should build efficient cybercafé as well as provide internet facility within their premises and subscribe electronic scientific database. This will enable more access beyond the use of smartphones as well as the use of open access resources such as e-journals, e-conferences, e-thesis and dissertation.
  • ➢ The sampled institutions need an electronic library where the students can easily access scientific journals from databases such as Elsevier, Springer, Taylor and Francis, Wiley, and Emerald. This will lessen the reliance on Google and Google Scholar as well as provide the means to explore other related scientific papers which will improve their academic research and learning.
  • ➢ Network providers such as MTN, Globacom, Etisalat Telecommunications Company and their collaborators should make it a priority to improve their network as well as reduce their tariff to enable students' purchase data at an affordable price. This will encourage the faster and easier download of research materials.
  • ➢ The irregularity of power supply in the sampled University premises should be improved to encourage internet accessibility for academic purposes. This will reduce the running out of power/battery on the students mobile and Laptop devices, which often interrupt their use of the internet. When this is resolved, it will improve their academic research and learning at large.

5.2. Limitations and directions for future research

The findings of our study explain how students view the usage of the internet for their academic research and learning. It also generated useful data to build more understanding and insight into the use of the internet among students. Although, our study only focused on North-Eastern Nigerian students, which seems to be a limitation as it regards to the wider transferability and generalizability of this study findings. Nevertheless, our study is founded on real-life students' experiences, as such, contributes to enhancing the empirical research results that are beneficial for informing teaching and learning practice in higher educational settings. Also, there is an absence of detailed and rigorous statistical analysis. Investigators have argued that interpretive research such as this current research is not suitable for detailed statistical analysis as it is based merely on reporting perception ( Myers, 2013 ; Walsham, 2001 ). Nevertheless, a longitudinal and ethnographic study where a researcher spends a significant amount of time observing the students' use of internet resources would be valuable in providing richer insights about how internet resources impact students learning, research, and academic performance in general.

Declarations

Author contribution statement.

Oberiri Destiny Apuke, Timothy Onosahwo Iyendo: Conceived and designed the experiments; Performed the experiments; Analyzed and interpreted the data; Contributed reagents, materials, analysis tools or data; Wrote the paper.

Funding statement

This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Competing interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Additional information

No additional information is available for this paper.

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With close to 20.4 billion devices connected to the Internet to be deployed by 2020, Internet of things (IoT) is already being leveraged in diverse sectors. Now, because of the ubiquitous nature of IoT devices, schools and academic institutions are looking to incorporate IoT in educational activities. With the increased use of IoT in the education domain, it is of utmost importance to study how this technology with its distinguished system functions such as sensing and decision making can support and challenge the pedagogical processes for all interrelated actors (faculty, students, and staff) as well as all involved assets (e.g., libraries, classrooms, and labs). Although there have been several contributions on the inclusion of IoT into the education domain, there is still a lack of consolidated and coherent views on this subject. Hence, we are motivated to close the gap of knowledge and embarked on mapping out the published studies available. This study presents the results of a systematic literature review focusing on the benefits and the challenges faced in education in integrating IoT into the curriculum and educational environments. Different mapping views of the extracted studies are provided as long as a summary of the already implemented tools and a list of gap research questions yet to be investigated.

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  • Education Engineering & Materials Science 100%
  • Internet of things Engineering & Materials Science 98%
  • Internet Social Sciences 73%
  • literature Social Sciences 49%
  • education Social Sciences 36%
  • Curricula Engineering & Materials Science 20%
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  • Students Engineering & Materials Science 14%

T1 - A systematic literature review on Internet of things in education

T2 - Benefits and challenges

AU - Kassab, Mohamad

AU - DeFranco, Joanna

AU - Laplante, Phillip

N1 - Publisher Copyright: © 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

PY - 2020/4/1

Y1 - 2020/4/1

N2 - With close to 20.4 billion devices connected to the Internet to be deployed by 2020, Internet of things (IoT) is already being leveraged in diverse sectors. Now, because of the ubiquitous nature of IoT devices, schools and academic institutions are looking to incorporate IoT in educational activities. With the increased use of IoT in the education domain, it is of utmost importance to study how this technology with its distinguished system functions such as sensing and decision making can support and challenge the pedagogical processes for all interrelated actors (faculty, students, and staff) as well as all involved assets (e.g., libraries, classrooms, and labs). Although there have been several contributions on the inclusion of IoT into the education domain, there is still a lack of consolidated and coherent views on this subject. Hence, we are motivated to close the gap of knowledge and embarked on mapping out the published studies available. This study presents the results of a systematic literature review focusing on the benefits and the challenges faced in education in integrating IoT into the curriculum and educational environments. Different mapping views of the extracted studies are provided as long as a summary of the already implemented tools and a list of gap research questions yet to be investigated.

AB - With close to 20.4 billion devices connected to the Internet to be deployed by 2020, Internet of things (IoT) is already being leveraged in diverse sectors. Now, because of the ubiquitous nature of IoT devices, schools and academic institutions are looking to incorporate IoT in educational activities. With the increased use of IoT in the education domain, it is of utmost importance to study how this technology with its distinguished system functions such as sensing and decision making can support and challenge the pedagogical processes for all interrelated actors (faculty, students, and staff) as well as all involved assets (e.g., libraries, classrooms, and labs). Although there have been several contributions on the inclusion of IoT into the education domain, there is still a lack of consolidated and coherent views on this subject. Hence, we are motivated to close the gap of knowledge and embarked on mapping out the published studies available. This study presents the results of a systematic literature review focusing on the benefits and the challenges faced in education in integrating IoT into the curriculum and educational environments. Different mapping views of the extracted studies are provided as long as a summary of the already implemented tools and a list of gap research questions yet to be investigated.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85074992670&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85074992670&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/jcal.12383

DO - 10.1111/jcal.12383

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85074992670

SN - 0266-4909

JO - Journal of Computer Assisted Learning

JF - Journal of Computer Assisted Learning

Internet of Things: A literature review

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Proceedings of Seventh International Congress on Information and Communication Technology pp 649–660 Cite as

A Systematized Literature Review: Internet of Things (IoT) in the Remote Monitoring of Diabetes

  • Belinda Mutunhu   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-6046-3240 13 ,
  • Baldreck Chipangura   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-5334-0808 13 &
  • Hossana Twinomurinzi   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-9811-3358 14  
  • Conference paper
  • First Online: 27 July 2022

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Part of the Lecture Notes in Networks and Systems book series (LNNS,volume 448)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an important emerging technology that enables (usually) pervasive ubiquitous devices to connect to the Internet. Medical and Healthcare Internet of Things (MHIoT) represents one of the application areas for IoT that has revolutionized the healthcare sector. In this study, a systematized literature review on the adoption of MHIoT for diabetes management is done to investigate the application of IoT in the monitoring of diabetes, key challenges, what has been done, in which context, and the research gap using Denyer and Transfield’s systematic literature review methodology. The key findings reveal that developing nations are lagging despite the greater benefits of MHIoT in such resource-constrained contexts. The findings suggest that infrastructure costs, security, and privacy issues are most important in the adoption of MHIoT for diabetes management. The opportunities presented by MHIoT surpass the challenges as healthcare costs are reduced in a resource-constrained context. Further research in infrastructural needs and privacy concerns is needed to take full advantage of these benefits and address the challenges.

  • Health care
  • Developing countries
  • Developed countries
  • Blood sugar
  • Remote health monitoring

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Mutunhu, B., Chipangura, B., Twinomurinzi, H. (2023). A Systematized Literature Review: Internet of Things (IoT) in the Remote Monitoring of Diabetes. In: Yang, XS., Sherratt, S., Dey, N., Joshi, A. (eds) Proceedings of Seventh International Congress on Information and Communication Technology. Lecture Notes in Networks and Systems, vol 448. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-1610-6_57

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    Among other methods, literature reviews are essential for: (a) identifying what has been written on a subject or topic; (b) determining the extent to which a specific research area reveals any interpretable trends or patterns; (c) aggregating empirical findings related to a narrow research question to support evidence-based practice; (d) generat...

  6. Internet Sources

    Literature Review Step by Step What Tests to Apply When Evaluating Sources How to evaluate a webpage Share Watch on If you cannot access the above video, you can watch it here. Authority •Is the author of the information named? •What are the author's qualifications and expertise? •Who sponsors the website? •Is the sponsor of the page reputable?

  7. Writing a Literature Review

    A literature review is a document or section of a document that collects key sources on a topic and discusses those sources in conversation with each other (also called synthesis ). The lit review is an important genre in many disciplines, not just literature (i.e., the study of works of literature such as novels and plays).

  8. How to Write a Literature Review

    Step 1 - Search for relevant literature Step 2 - Evaluate and select sources Step 3 - Identify themes, debates, and gaps Step 4 - Outline your literature review's structure Step 5 - Write your literature review Free lecture slides Other interesting articles Frequently asked questions Introduction Quick Run-through Step 1 & 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5

  9. The Internet & The Web, Theories & Literature Review

    The Internet & The Web, Theories & Literature Review Authors: Ryufath Soepeno Sampoerna University Abstract This summary report contains a literature review that explores the evolution...

  10. Bubble effect: including internet search engines in systematic reviews

    Systematic literature reviews start with a bibliographic database search accessing a large number of peer-reviewed scientific studies. It has become increasingly frequent to include internet search engines as access points as well [6, 7, 9]. Internet search engines can be useful in reviewing literature not found in common bibliographic databases.

  11. Conducting Research Literature Reviews

    Features. Preview. Providing readers with an accessible, in-depth look at how to synthesize research literature, Conducting Research Literature Reviews: From the Internet to Paper is perfect for students, researchers, marketers, planners, and policymakers who design and manage public and private agencies, conduct research studies, and prepare ...

  12. The Internet of Things: Review and theoretical framework

    The review of the literature reveals that the number of applications that make use of the IoT has increased dramatically and spans areas from business and manufacturing to home, health care, and knowledge management. Although IoT can create invaluable data in every industry, it does not occur without its challenges.

  13. A Systematic Literature Review on Relationship Between Internet Usage

    5.3 Relationship Between Internet Usage Behavior and Internet QoS. Literature review shows that most studies on Internet QoS have mentioned Internet use behavior, but few studies have clearly described their relationship. Among them, the number of people who connect Internet QoS with user analysis is more, while with user behavior model is less.

  14. Full article: Systematic literature review of Internet interventions

    Internet health intervention review flow chart. Display full size. Overall, interventions ranged in length from one 60-90 minute session to multiple sessions lasting 24 weeks, with the overall number of sessions lasting on average between 6 and 12 weeks. Most interventions comprise of modules or activity components ranging from 1 to 73 sessions.

  15. Internet marketing: a content analysis of the research

    24 Citations 2 Altmetric Explore all metrics Abstract The amount of research related to Internet marketing has grown rapidly since the dawn of the Internet Age. A review of the literature base will help identify the topics that have been explored as well as identify topics for further research.

  16. Getting started

    What is a literature review? Definition: A literature review is a systematic examination and synthesis of existing scholarly research on a specific topic or subject. Purpose: It serves to provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of knowledge within a particular field. Analysis: Involves critically evaluating and summarizing key findings, methodologies, and debates found in ...

  17. Adoption of Internet of Things: A systematic literature review and

    Due to the enormous potential of the Internet of things, attention towards its adoption is increasing significantly. Despite the undeniable relevance of this field, the current study aims to synthesize the body of knowledge on IoT adoption using systematic literature review (SPAR-4-SLR) with the TCCM framework.

  18. University students' usage of the internet resources for research and

    1. Introduction The internet has been defined as the communication superhighway that links, hooks, and transforms the entire world into a global village where a different individual can easily get in touch, see, or speak to one another, as well as exchange information instantaneously from one point of the globe to another ( Shitta, 2002 ).

  19. Internet of Things applications: A systematic review

    The key approaches of IoT applications that have been focused in selected studies consist of health-care, environmental monitoring, smart city, commercial, industrial and general approaches. We present a Systematic Literature Review (SLR) method and overview opportunities of the IoT applications.

  20. A systematic literature review on Internet of things in education

    A systematic literature review on Internet of things in education: Benefits and challenges Mohamad Kassab, Joanna DeFranco, Phillip Laplante Engineering Division (Great Valley) Institute for Computational and Data Sciences (ICDS) Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-review 87 Scopus citations Overview Fingerprint Abstract

  21. A systematic literature review on Internet of things in education

    This study presents the results of a systematic literature review focusing on the benefits and the challenges faced in education in integrating IoT into the curriculum and educational environments. Different mapping views of the extracted studies are provided as long as a summary of the already implemented tools and a list of gap research ...

  22. Internet of Things: A literature review

    Internet of Things: A literature review Abstract: The future we imagine is for automatic devices is to make ease the life of human on this planet. We are entering in a technological era with artificial intelligence, RFID, wireless communication. These devices are communicating, and allowing numerous functions across organizations across the world.

  23. A Systematized Literature Review: Internet of Things (IoT) in the

    3.1 Question Formulation. In the planning phase, the review protocol and the review question were formulated from the aim of the systematic review which is to investigate opportunities, key challenges, theoretical frameworks used, in which context, and identify the research gap in IoT literature/research.

  24. A systematic literature review of Internet of Video Things: Trends

    The remaining article begins with the review related to IoVT in Section 3.After that the methodology used for this study is presented in Section 4, which describes the followed steps, Research Questions (RQs), and protocols involved in the study.This is followed with an outcomes of the study achieved by analysis in Section 5.This section includes feature identification and its analysis, future ...