The purpose of this research is going to evaluate the advantages of using eSearch outweigh the disadvantages for NTIC students. The research is based on lists of literature review that refer to the academic search engine or online learning resources acquiring. The primary research conducts by a questionnaire. The sample mainly comes from students who study at Nottingham Trent International College and try to find out a reasonable result. The sample size is twenty-eight student of NTIC. The findings unveil that the advantages of using eSearch engine outweigh the disadvantages for the NTIC students. There were total 96% respondents have thought eSearch style is important for academic information acquiring. There were twenty-six respondents think the advantages of using eSearch engine outweigh the disadvantages. This finding may help students who study at NTIC to know and use the eSearch on the NTU website.
This is a research project report. It attempts to find out some significance about using academic search engine such eSearch on the NTU website. Probably, some NTIC students do not know what exactly function and action does eSearch has. Hopefully, the prospective finding may be a beneficial and helpful guidance for NTIC students.
The development of information and communication technology started from 1970s. In the past two decades, the applications based on information and communication technology has made great progress in actual applications. In this day and age, information and communication technology is developing rapidly. There are varieties of electronic applications based on the Internet and computer. For example, the search engine such as Google, that plays a very vital role in present work, study, amusement and everywhere in life.
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However, for some academic research area, general search engine is not very good for academic purpose (Golian, 2000). Accordingly, an academic search engine such as eSearch application of Nottingham Trent University (NTU) website come out. Students can obtain abundant academic resources and do the research by this kind of web based software. Such academic search engines have became more and more popular among numerous learning institutions.
Hypothesis and Research Problem
In terms of students of Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC), looking for a valid and reliable academic information resource is a very important thing for those who is doing a research project or just for an essay purpose. My hypothesis is that to use eSearch probably is a better way for students who would like to obtain academic information resources. Therefore, my research question is that whether the advantages of using eSearch outweigh the disadvantages for NTIC students or not.
Aim and Objectives
This research will conduct by a questionnaire. The overall aim of this research is intended to evaluate the advantages of using eSearch outweigh the disadvantages for NTIC students. The outcome of this research will be a guide of using the eSearch, especially for those who still do not know what the eSearch application is. As for explicit objectives of this work, it will focus on:
To find out what benefits of use of eSearch has of value to NTIC students.
To investigate why NTIC students use eSearch engine on NTU website.
To indicate to what extend the advantages of using eSearch outweigh the disadvantages for NTIC students.
In point of fact, the eSearch is a web-based and academic search engine. The main purpose of this literature review is going to provide an overview that explores some evidence of primary research or book into the use of academic search engines, which will relate to the eSearch and selected research question area. The literature review is going to divide into two sections. At the first section, it will look at what advantages and disadvantages of use of academic search engine have been referred to and what is still not mentioned. At the second section, it will look at some actual use and relative reason that students use academic search engine.
The advantages and disadvantages of the eSearch
The eSearch application can be used in the field of information gathering and subject research. There are many research finding shown that the use of academic search engine has advantages and disadvantages.
Kruse (2004) argues that eSearch provides a fast and convenient way that learners obtain useful information resources. Ma (2006) agrees with him and he also indicates that the learning by eSearch can be lifetime learning with the low cost. In fact, the essence of eSearch belongs to the scope of e-learning system. Holmes and Gardner (2006) argue that e-learning style based on web or other information and communication technology, the learners can learn what they want to learn by internet.
Meanwhile, some finding also showed the disadvantages of use of academic search engine. Kruse (2004) considers that sometimes there are some technical issues that the possibility of obtaining wrong information when using eSearch application access to the resources, which will waste time. Moreover, Allen (2003) mentions that the e-learning system is faultiness, which lack of effective and collaborative learning and so much research research by e-learning way that results a pool performance.
In spite of these literature mentioned are both advantages and disadvantages of using eSearch style, all finding are surface and general, which seems just about the way that acquires information by web based application like eSearch is good or bad. The scope of data collection is very broad. They did not focus on a special group and mention any advantages or disadvantages of using eSearch application that relate to students who want to obtain academic information resources, especially for those who want to know whether advantages of using eSearch to do a research project outweigh disadvantages among the NTIC. This seems like that more work need to do in this specific area.
The practical use of eSearch
At present, the academic search engine as a common practice is likely playing vital role in a majority of learning institutions. On the one hand, Allen (2003) points that many students obtain information by using eSearch style because it is more flexible and interesting for their learning. On the other hand, Allen also mentions that some students think that eSearch applicatons are boring, useless, a weak searching function that cannot access useful resources after they tried eSearch applications.
In spite of that, the eSearch application is still play an active role on learning of research. In practical case, positive attitudes are more than negative attitudes (Burgess, 2007). It seems like that the development of information and communication technology lead to an inevitable outcome.
However, their finding did not mention that how important or useful when using an eSearch application to do a academic research. Furthermore, due to eSearch style can get academic information resources validly and reliably, many libraries of learning institutions develop electronic library as an academic information research tool. Gibbons (2007) argues that the academic library is based on Web 2.0 with abundant academic information resources, which can simply search a book or other academic information.
Meanwhile, Gibbons highlights that eSearch style provides wonderful chance for students who live in the web generation. Nevertheless, all previous results just show obtaining academic information resources by eSearch style is recommended, but for NTIC students, there is no research finding to show that the advantages of using eSearch on NTU website outweigh disadvantages. Probably, this gap will be filled by this research.
This section is going to state what research method was choose for the data collection of this research and how to administer it. Research methodology is not only about what methods the study use, the logic behind the method is quite important as well and it also need to explain why the particular method was selected and why did not choose others (Kumar, 2008).
Method of Data Collecting
A questionnaire that based on chosen topic area has been used for data collection. This is main and unique method of data collection this research used. Others like interview or observation have been considered, however, due to lack of times, those are complex method for this research. To use those way, which are harder to administer and probably will cost more time. Therefore, in order to collect suitable information immediately and efficiently. The questionnaire was chosen. To see how good the questionnaire done, which is a relatively appropriate way for the purpose that collecting useful information among students who study at NTIC.
The questionnaire of this research was administered via both email and face to face way. These two ways are both work well. To deliver questionnaires via face to face way, it seems like an optimum approach to get the information of the research back. In fact, sometimes to ask questions and get answers from others especially those who are stranger and do not know where do their answers going. They not only worry about the security of some privacy but also introverted when face to a stranger. Forasmuch there is a little difficult via face to face way, in order to supply a deficiency, some questionnaires sent via email. The respondents randomly came from the email list of NTIC students.
Description of Questionnaire
There are thirteen questions in the questionnaire (appendix 1) and include two question types. Most of questions are list question. There were nine questions are list, which gave several or more choices for respondents. Other four questions are scale question, which provide different stages of scaling for respondents.
There were four important questions out of thirteen on the questionnaire. They were numbers 6, 7, 8 and 11 on the questionnaire. The most important question was number 11. The aim of this question was to indicate to what extend the advantages of using eSearch outweigh the disadvantages for NTIC students. This question was asked because the answer may provide very useful information from NTIC students, which was concentrated on the research question area.
There were some worth the whistle information when the questionnaire was piloted. The questionnaire was given to thirty people. The people were students at NTIC. Among these thirty students, there were twenty-eight returned the questionnaire back. The twenty-eight respondents were from different levels at the NTIC. Why those two people who did not accept the questionnaire? The reason is that one of them had been answered too many questionnaire at the same time. Another one accepted the questionnaire by email but did not return it. Probably due to he has no enough time to do. Anyway, twenty-eight available questionnaires were available.
In addition, some respondents mentioned that per questionnaire spent about time 3 minutes and the question type and layout of the questionnaire are acceptable. However, there were one person mentioned that there were one question is not appreciate for the data collecting about this research question. It was question 10. This question talked about lectures and trainings for the use of eSearch engine by NTU or NTIC. He thought this question is unnecessary because the research question is about balancing advantages and disadvantages. Why asking question about training. I have checked this question. I think this is a useful question because the answer is how essential eSearch trainings are. If most people think the eSearch training is essential, which means using eSearch is important. This answer could affect the final finding.
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In order to carry out a significative finding from based on the research question, a sampling technique will be considered. The questionnaire was focus on students who study at NTIC. At the beginning of this research, the whole NTU was considered. However, this is too broad way to collect data for the research area. NTIC students as a representative of the NTU as a whole, they use the eSearch engine on the NTU website as well. To choose this group would be better than choose whole NTU, because the collected data is available for the chosen research area, and it is also easier to reach this group at different level then produce a good sample.
The privacy issue had been considered. Indeed, a research problem based on human activities has been virtually involved in some ethical issues (Bernard, 2000). Furthermore, the trust issue is important as well. These issues will cause valid and reliable of data collected. Hence, an anonymous survey was adopted.
Findings and Discussion
This section is going to carry out findings for the research question. Following data analysis and discussion was based on the primary research.
Figure 1 shows that there were twenty-eight NTIC students use online search engine to acquire information, which means all respondents were using online search engine although they were different majors and taking different programmes.
It can be seen that there were twenty students use online search engine, who are taking graduate diploma programme. There were five diploma students and three foundation students use online search engine. It is clearly to see that graduate diploma students use online search engine were more than both diploma and foundation students. There is a strong possibility that graduate diploma students who are preparing for the master course, which means their work need to do more research and then they searching online intended to acquire more information. Furthermore, we can see that diploma students more than foundation students, which probably due to the degree of diploma higher than foundation and they did more research than foundation. If so, it seems like that the result just demonstrated the previous speculation.
As for business students, there were five students use online search engine to acquire information but there were no statistical figures refer to diploma and foundation students. It is likely not business students of taking diploma and foundation programme did not use online search engine but probably due to the questionnaire did not reached diploma and foundation group at business field.
The top group of using online search engine was computing students. There were nine students responded yes in total. In comparison with media students, statistics were quite similar and just a little less than computing students. There were eight students responded yes in total. Most respondents belong these two groups. The possible reason is that they are both IT guys. Media students probably were a little bit weaker in computer and Internet operating skills.
There were three students who taking law programme use online engine to acquire information and same number in other students group, which is the least statistics in this survey. There were two students are graduated diploma students, which have about 66% of total. Only one diploma student was marked. Maybe graduate diploma students need to do more research and then they use online search engine to acquire information.
Totally, all respondents use online search engine to acquire information. Although the proportion of graduate diploma students is more than others, this is not the focus of the research project. The key finding from this figure is likely that everyone need to use online search engine regardless of what programme the student does. Therefore, there is a strong possibility that students could benefit more from using search engine to acquire information.
This pie chart shown the proportion of different attitudes that how important to NTIC students is accessing academic learning resources by an eSearch engine. It can be seen that the rate of important is quiet high than others. Many NTIC students thought using eSearch engine accessing academic learning resources is important. The proportion reached 67%. This is the highest number. Probably these respondents use eSearch engine on the NTU website frequently because they think it is important for their learning.
Meanwhile, there were 18% respondents think accessing academic learning resources by an eSearch engine is very important. Although the number is not in the top, it still reached the second. Combining with the rate of thinking eSearch is important, which likely means there were majority of respondents who prefer using eSearch engine to obtain academic learning resources.
Regarding to others, the proportion of respondents who thinking the use of eSearch is slightly important has 11%. Maybe there are some technical issues leads to those who think eSearch is slightly important. Only 4% respondents think that is not important by eSearch engine to acquire academic learning resources. It seems they just do not care it instead of never use it.
According to the figure 2, total 96% respondents have thought eSearch style is important for academic information acquiring. Merely the extent of importance of using eSearch displayed different levels. An realistic estimate would be that using eSearch on the NTU website to access academic learning resources is a important way for NTIC students who writing a academic essay or doing a research project. Further speculation would be that using eSearch might have more beneficial and helpful than without it.
From figure 3 we can see the numbers of respondents which balancing the advantages of using eSearch and disadvantages. It shows the rate which NTIC students think the advantages of using eSearch outweigh the disadvantages by three different programme groups that include foundation, diploma and graduate diploma. There were total seventeen graduate diploma students, five diploma students and six foundation students. Almost all respondents consider that the advantages of using eSearch outweigh the disadvantages for NTIC students. There were only few thoughts (one graduate diploma students and one foundation students) of respondents between these two extremes. And there was nobody thinks the disadvantages of using eSearch outweght advantages.
There were five graduate diploma students believe that using eSearch engine possess absolute advantages, the disadvantages could be ignored. There were one diploma and two foundation students who think the advantages of using eSearch is undoubted. This statistical range is not a topmost but it shown nearly more than 28% of respondents who strongly affirmed the advantages of using eSearch. Maybe their feeling of dependence to the Internet is strong and seems they use eSearch frequently.
There were eighteen respondents picked extent four, which means they agree with that the advantages of using eSearch engine outweigh disadvantages. This is not absolute but somewhat. These statistical numbers were more than half of total respondents. The numbers of graduate diploma students reached a peak at this range. There were eleven respondents choose somewhat advantages for using eSearch. Probable reason is that most respondents came from graduate diploma students just less numbers of respondents who taking other programme. Respondents who taking diploma and foundation programme have five people, which four were diploma students and three of were foundation students.
Taking one with another, respondents who think absolute advantages eSeach has, the numbers raised about one-third of total numbers of respondents. Adding the two together, there were twenty-six respondents think that the use of eSearch has advantages. This is an overwhelming majority. There is a strong possibility that most NTIC students recognized the advantages of using eSearch on the NTU website, which probably due to the use of eSearch is beneficial and helpful regardless the concerns.
From description of statistics and discussion above, the research incessantly deepened. It first looked at the current circumstance of NTIC students using online search engine to acquire information. And then, it analysed the practical using of eSearch. Finally, it took the focus to whether the advantages of using eSearch outweigh the disadvantages. This part had done its task and gradually unveiled the answer of the research question.
Conclusion and Recommendations
In this research, the main finding was that most of the NTIC students who came from three different programme groups recognize that the advantages of using eSearch engine outweigh disadvantages.
By the literature review, it has been found that many researchers or authors have had some different viewpoint about using the online search engine such as eSearch is an important way to acquire academic information resources. Some people argued that academic search engines have clear advantages and using this way to access academic learning resources is an effective measure. Some disagree. Anyway, it can be understood because things always have advantages and disadvantages. This mainly depends on which way can be looked firstly. Or depends on which area can be used in.
Whatever which argument, it was only focus on a surface of using search engine or not even just describe the search engine as a product. There was no any findings been found, which focus on a particular area or learning groups. Come back to the research question of this study, the purpose of this research has been carried out. Eventually, the questionnaire unveiled this finding. Most of respondents who came from NTIC gave distinct responses. They use online search engine as well as eSearch engine on the NTU website frequently.
Furthermore, the main limitation of this research is limited method of data collecting. There were two reasons caused this limitation. On the one hand, there was no plenty of time to do more research. To design a comprehensive methodology that can be used in data collecting. Now, due to lack of time, the research just simply distributed questionnaire. There was no enough testing for reliability and validity of data. If the time for researching is sufficient, respondents can be divided into different group. There were foundation, diploma and graduate diploma. More segmentation according to different major groups might be feasible.
Particularly, the finding was displayed clearly on the graduate diploma students of the NTIC. It is likely to recommend those students who need to do more research and then they may use eSearch engine on the NTU website and benefit from it. They probably experienced the advantages of using eSearch outweigh the disadvantages. Maybe it was truth already and everybody knows that but nobody to prove it. Therefore, the finding could be specific for those who want to use academic search engine to acquire useful information conveniently and effectively. In addition, it can be guidance toward NTIC students and especially for those who still do not what is eSearch.
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