INFORMATION SEEKING BEHAVIOUR OF ENTREPRENEURS: A CASE STUDY OF PURE WATER PRODUCERS IN EKPOMA, EDO STATE

ABSTRACT
This research work examined information seeking behaviour of entrepreneurs of Pure Water Producers in Ekpoma, Edo State. The objectives of this study is to identify the information needs of entrepreneurs; examine the information seeking behaviour of entrepreneurs; find out the sources preferred for acquiring needed information; examine reasons associated with the preferred entrepreneurs information sources; find out challenges associated with this business; and to find out solution to these problems. Survey research design was adopted for the study. Total enumeration sampling technique was used for the study. Questionnaire was used as the instrument for data collection. Data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics of simple percentage. The findings revealed that respondents’ sources preferred for acquiring needed information are oral communication, family and friends, distributors, consultants, employees and established entrepreneurs, professional acquaintances, customers, and internet/online search. Also, the findings showed that challenges associated with pure water business are financial constraints, intervention by government & various development practitioners, transportation, power supply, limited availability and poor quality of roads/bridges. And also, it was found out that the solution to the problems are availability of loans to entrepreneurs, availability of quality roads/bridges, constant power supply, availability of basic infrastructure facilities, and government support. Based on the findings, it was recommended by the researcher that entrepreneurs should develop appropriate collections and other new digital information services that will be of benefit to their business. Also, government should create an avenue for loan access to entrepreneurs.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background to the Study
Entrepreneurship has been the backbone of most gigantic and growing economies of the 21st century. Any country that refuses to pay attention to enhancing her entrepreneurship sector would be left behind in the global economic development. This is because entrepreneurship is the dynamic process of creating incremental wealth by individuals who assume major risks in terms of equity, time and/or career commitment or provide value for some product or service (Hisrich, Peters and Shepherd, 2005).
Entrepreneurs as a group has been studied from various perspectives; students in the field of management, economics, commerce and psychology have all contributed to the field of entrepreneurial studies. According to Deshpande, (1989) cited in Durga, (2006), an entrepreneur is an individual who accepts risks and undertakes new ventures.
Ekpoma is a larger town in Edo StateNigeria. The population of Ekpoma, Nigeria is 59618 according to the GeoNames geographical database (NPC, 2006)Ekpoma is the headquarter of Esan West Local Government Area of Edo state, it is not an industrialized town, but houses a University, some secondary and primary schools, and health institution, hence there are lots of human activities in the environment. The sources of portable water in Ekpoma are the Ibiekuma River (popularly known as river Orhionmwon) and the Ogedekpe River. The Ibiekuma River is dammed and the water is channeled through pipes to the Ujemen campus of the Ambrose Alli University, the water is transported from the campusto Ekpoma environment through water tanks and plastic vessels such as Jerry cans.
The secondary, source of water is the rainwater, which is stored in cemented concrete wells, galvanized iron tanks and plastic water tanks. The pure water producers in Ekpoma depend on these sources especially the two rivers. Pure water producers in Ekpoma are faced by myriads of problems ranging from inadequate extension service, poor input distribution, high cost of labour etc. But despite the problems faced by pure water producers in Ekpoma, it’s still very profitable. Many entrepreneurs now see this business as hot cake business in which they cannot lack customers because majority of the inhabitants relying on vended water from water trucks or rain-water collected in cemented underground water reservoirs.
Meanwhile, today’s society has been characterized as a knowledge society and its economy as a knowledge economy. Leveraging of information is an essential ingredient in the making of a knowledge economy. Information is recognized as a valuable resource and a key factor in today’s competitive world. It is an integral part of life. Whatever one does, wherever one stays, whoever one is, whether one recognizes it or not, everyone needs and uses information.
The concept of information no doubt appears over flogged both in the academia and the secular world. The use of the word information has almost assumed a state of anomaly where nearly every innovation/advancement is tagged after information; information age, information explosion, information economy, information society, and so on. Perhaps, this is because information has become indispensable in the overall development of the global society. Kemp (1976) cited in Madhusudhan (2008) concurs that information has been rated as the fifth need of man ranking after air, water, food, and shelter. Human beings generally use information in their day to day activities to meet a particular need or the other. What, then, is the meaning of this very popular and world acknowledged word information?
The word information has been defined by various schools of thought. Riley (2012) defined information as data that has been processed in such a way as to be meaningful to the person who receives it.Business Dictionary described information as that which can lead to an increase in understanding and decrease in uncertainty’. Information can also be described as the knowledge communicated or received concerning a particular fact or circumstance(Random House College Dictionary, 2009). This is to mention a few, but in the context of this study, information is seen as knowledge communicated verbally or orally to individuals and is used in decision-making.
Nowadays, information has become a critical factor for political participation and social inclusion and the basis for competitiveness at the individual, organizational and national levels (Babalola, Sodipe, Haliso & Odunlade, 2012). The implication of this assertion is that the urge to use a piece of information stems out of the user’s need. It arises as a consequence of a need perceived by the information user, who in order to satisfy it makes demand upon formal or informal sources or services, resulting in success or failure.
According to Odunsaya and Amusa (2003), information needs vary, depending on the purpose for which information is sought. In other words, the type of information needed and the purpose for which it is being sought determines the user’s pattern of seeking. Information need is a requirement that drives people into information seeking. An information need evolves from an awareness of something missing, which necessitates the seeking of information that might contribute to understanding and meaning.
In accordance with the study of Odusanya and Amusa (2003), there are three approaches to information seeking. These are:
1.      The user-values approach which focuses on perception of utility and value of information systems;
2.      The sense-making approach which examines the way people make sense of their worlds and how information is used in this process; and
3.      The anomalous state-of-knowledge (ASK) which examines how people seek information concerning situation about which their knowledge is incomplete.
Information seeking behaviour has been described as the way and manner people gather and seek for information for their personal use, knowledge updating and development (Ajiboye and Tella, 2007). In other words, information seeking behaviour principally encompasses how individuals scout round for information to meet a particular need irrespective of the source or sources of the information.
The concept of information seeking behaviour is not alien to the academic environment. Traditionally, the hallmark of academic environment has always been teaching and learning for knowledge acquisition, which is often characterized with information seeking and usage. A typical academic environment consists of the students, researchers, non-academics and other service providers such as the informal sector entrepreneur.
Faire-Wessels (1990) in Kakai et al., (2004) refers to it as a way people search for and utilized information. From the above definitions therefore, it can be deduced that information seeking behaviour is the purposive search for information as a consequence of a need to satisfy some goals. In the courseof seeking for information to do research and assignments, the individual may interact with manual information systems (such as newspaper or a book) or with computer-based systems (such as the Internet-world wide web).The need of information seeking behaviour arises due to information need of the information seeker, who in order to satisfy it, makes demands upon formal or informal information sources or services, resulting in either success or failure. Taylor (2001) also noted that after interacting with the information sources what a user actually needs may not eventually tally with what is practically available, due to constraints either within the stock or due to the user’sown inadequacy.

1.2       Statement of the Problem
Over the years, information seeking has been human process that requires adaptive and reflective control over the afferent and efferent actions of the information seeker.Information seeking behaviour (ISB) resulted from the recognition of some needs, perceived by the user, who as a consequence makes demand upon on formal system in order to satisfied the perceived information need.
Pure water is essential to humans and other life forms even though it provides no calories or organicnutrients. Access to safe drinking pure water has improved over the last decades in almost every part of the world, but approximately one billion people still lack access to safe pure water in Nigeria most especially in Ekpoma. However, some entrepreneurs have observed that Ekpoma town is seriously lacking safe pure water because of the area located. This geared entrepreneurs to deem it fit in order for them to make more profit. Numerous studies have been conducted to investigate various aspects of information seeking behaviour of business school students, and little research has been conducted on an examination of the information behaviour of new entrepreneurs in the start-up phase of a business. It has been observed that no research has been done on the information seeking behaviour of entrepreneurs of pure water producers in Ekpoma, Edo State. The study will identify the information needs of entrepreneurs of pure water producers in Ekpoma town, the information seeking behaviour of pure water producers, as well as the sources preferred for acquiring the needed information. So the researcher intends to fill this gap.

1.3       Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to investigate the information seeking behaviour of entrepreneurs of Pure Water Producers in Ekpoma, Edo State.
The specific objectives are:
1.      To identify the information needs of entrepreneurs
2.      To assess the information seeking behaviour of entrepreneurs
3.      To find out the sources preferred for acquiring needed information
4.      To identify reasons associated with the preferred entrepreneurs information sources

1.4       Research Questions
Based on the objectives of this study, the following research questions were formulated:
1.      What are the information needs of entrepreneurs?
2.      What is the level of information seeking behaviour of entrepreneurs?
3.      What sources are preferred by entrepreneurs for acquiring needed information?
4.      What are the reasons associated with entrepreneurs’ information sources?

1.5       Significance of the Study
This study will be of immense benefits in the following ways:
1.      There is no doubt that the findings of this study would be of great benefit to entrepreneurs and society at large. This would no doubt improve upon the current techniques and behaviour exhibited by entrepreneurs while using information resources.
2.      This study is actually timely because it would help users to improve their information seeking skills by providing them with the requisite skills in order to effectively meet their information needs.
3.      It is hoped that the findings of this research will be useful for entrepreneurs to know that the use of quality information will help them undertake their responsibilities more effectively.
4.      It will help business organization to know the importance of information resources.

1.6       Scope of the Study
This research work is restricted to the information seeking behaviour of entrepreneurs of Pure Water Producers in Ekpoma, Edo State. The study covers all pure water producers in Ekpoma, Edo State.

1.7       Limitation of the Study
In the process of undergoing through this study, the following factors will militate against the research work. However, these factors do not make the findings skeptical.
The limiting factors include:
i)              Time: As at the period of this study, the researcher undertook numerous tasks, especially the course work and other academic tasks. Based on that, the researcher considered the specified time to be too short for the study.
ii)            Finance: This was one of the major challenges faced by this study. The researcher does not have enough money to carry out this study. Preparing the questionnaire and its administration cost a lot of money. Therefore, the researcher sourced for fund to enable her carry out the work successfully.
iii)          Limited Data: This is another challenge, which the researcher faced during this study.
Though the researcher encountered the above, it did not affect the quality of the work.

1.8       Operational Definition of Terms
Information: Knowledge communicated or received concerning a particular fact or circumstance.
Behaviour: This is way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially toward others.
Needs: A condition or situation in which something must be supplied in order for a certain condition to be maintained or a desired state to be achieved.
Information Need: Refer to that need originating from a vague awareness of something missing and then culminating in locating information that contributes to understanding and meaning.
Information Seeking Behaviour: Refer to the way and manner people search for and utilize information.
Information Seeking: It is a conscious effort to acquire information in response to a need or gap in the knowledge of a client.
Entrepreneur: This is a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.
Entrepreneurship: This is the willingness to take risks and develop, organize and manage a business venture in a competitive global marketplace that is constantly evolving.
Knowledge: Facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Attribute: 51 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: N3,000  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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