Challenges Faced by Academic Researchers in Nigeria
Many people tend to underestimate the importance of research; however, in reality, every activity in our daily lives involves research. To put it simply, research is the collection of information; research is the systematic and detailed gathering of information to boost the knowledge on a particular subject.
Going from this, therefore, one begins to wonder that with abundant resources of Nigeria coupled with the population, what then could be the challenges of research in Nigeria and the potential solutions to surmount these challenges?
Many Nigerians tend to ignore this topic; however, it is perhaps the one issue everyone should focus on as it touches human culture and society and like we already mentioned earlier, it affects every facet of life. If you have ever surfed the internet to look for phones and their prices, you have unintentionally conducted research. Even in the business world, when a new product is about to be launched, analysis known as market survey and feasibility studies must be carried out.
10 Problems of Research in Nigeria
Research is done with the aim of gathering more information on a particular subject/topic. However, in the process of conducting the research, researchers encounter numerous challenges and today; we will be taking a look at the top ten challenges and their possible solutions.
1. Lack of Proper Research Ethics
In academia, research is placed on the highest pedestal. Owing to this value placed on research, specific ethical guidelines must be observed with good sense when carrying out research of any kind.
When we talk about ethics in research, we mean the usage of basic ethical guidelines to a wide range of issues involving research such as scientific research. Many researchers in Nigeria ignore the appropriate ethical applications, methods and usage when carrying out their study to guarantee credibility.
2. Ineffective Research Methodology
A lot of academics in Nigeria consider research methodology to be the just a systematic technique of carrying out a study; however, the truth is that methodology encompasses all the guidelines, strategies and principles a researcher should follow when carrying out his research.
Methodology aids in the identification of the system to be adopted by the researcher for thorough study. In Nigeria, however, many researchers adopt the wrong methods for their research works which inadvertently affects the result that will be gotten.
Indeed, Nigerians work hard to emerge as the best in their chosen field; it doesn’t mean that all the accepted standards are being followed when carrying out a study.
To surmount this challenge, we advise that researchers should first immerse themselves on the research methodology appropriate for their various disciplines. This wrong application of methods can be inarguably said to be the most important factor affecting researchers in Nigeria.
3. Ineffective Education System
The most important tool needed to surmount the challenges of research in Nigeria is adequate training. However, how do you train researchers adequately when the educational system itself is inadequate?
There are myriads of the problem facing the educational sector in Nigeria, ranging from the continuous industrial strikes of lecturers in tertiary institutions, inadequate funding from the government to mention just a few. There is a need for a complete overhaul of the current setup of the educational sector in Nigeria. Without this being done, researchers in Nigeria will continue to operate with inadequate knowledge. Take, for instance, most of the courses in Nigeria are taught theoretically even when there is a need for practical to make the students understand better. Bringing it to the current topic, for research to be credible, the researcher must be able to practice it; however, the opposite is the case in Nigeria.
4. Ineffective Library System
Following the broken educational system, it is only normal to expect a library system that is not functioning well. Most of the libraries in universities in Nigeria provide minimal research materials (books, journals, newspapers etc.) Most of the libraries well equipped in Nigeria are private-owned libraries.
With the under stocking of libraries in Nigeria, researchers face a challenge when compiling data. Even those libraries that are seemingly well-stocked are filled with old materials. Even those few that are functioning well are not managed well, and many times researchers end up using up a lot of time looking for books, journals or reports needed to conduct proper and credible research.
5. Poor Infrastructural Management
The poor state of infrastructure in Nigeria is a substantial contributing factor to the underdevelopment of research. In many schools in the country, laboratories are under-equipped, mismanaged and not maintained properly. This leads to heaping more load on the already heavy load of researchers in Nigeria. Take, for instance, a microbiology laboratory lacking a refrigerator, microscopes and test tubes; this will push the researcher to go outside his/her institution to look for a laboratory that has all the needed equipment which will likely happen at a massive cost to the researcher’s finance.
6. Low Accessibility of Data and Information
Although there is numerous information on the internet, getting valid information is not cheap in Nigeria, which is aided by the ineffective educational and library systems. Hence, the difficulty in accessing information poses a serious challenge for researchers when carrying out a study.
In addition to this, the lack of a database for information and records that can be easily accessed from anywhere poses a serious barrier for researchers.
Also, the price to access journals, reports, and statistics to carry out research work is quite high, thus demotivating the researcher from carrying out the work.
Another major challenge for research in Nigeria is insecurity. Researchers’ inability to move freely within the country while carrying out research affects many researchers in Nigeria. When you couple insecurity with the unavailability of published works from academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and many more, one begins to understand the magnitude of the problems facing a researcher in Nigeria.
8. Lack of Funds for Research
The lack of funds and time is perhaps the second on the list of challenges facing researchers in Nigeria. To use research facilities that are well equipped in Nigeria, one must be prepared to spend a lot. From the purchase of research equipment, transportation, books, etc., one would spend a lot. In addition to this, the lack of time is another problem facing research in Nigeria. Many researchers in Nigeria are either juggling between two or three jobs, so they only have little time to spare for adequate research. For example, you might have seen a lawyer, who is also a lecturer.
9. Poor Technological Advancement
The majority of researchers in Nigeria have not evolved with technology. What do we mean by this? Most researchers in Nigeria are only well versed with pen and paper, which is a challenge of research in the country. This is because most of the materials needed to carry out a study are now stored on a technological database. A lack of understanding of how this database works can lead to spending a lot of time surfing the internet for information without results to show for it. To combat this problem, there is a need for technological training to be inculcated into the educational curriculum to train the researcher on technological advancements.
10. Political Uncertainty
The political instability in Nigeria also affects research development in Nigeria. It can be argued that the majority of the problems facing researchers in Nigeria are occasioned because of political uncertainty.
In addition to the above, most researchers who should be undertaking various studies in Nigeria are busy trying to patch up the polity and thus give little time to research.
From the above, it is evident that the problems facing researchers in Nigeria are enormous; however, they can be surmounted over time. There is a need for a collaborative effort from the government, corporate organizations, and international organizations to aid researchers’ work through regular training and financial assistance.