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EFFECTS OF SOCIAL MEDIA ON THE ACADEMIC

PERFORMANCE OF UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN NIGERIA: A


STUDY OF THE RIVERS STATE UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE
AND TECHNOLOGY, PORT HARCOURT

BY

EWA, CECILIA JABE


DE.2010/PT/1771

RESEARCH PROJECT SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL


FULFILLMENT OF THE AWARD OF BACHELOR OF
SCIENCE AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION (B.SC. Ed), TO THE
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATIONS,
FACULTY OF TECHNICAL AND SCIENCE EDUCATION,
RIVERS STATE UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND
TECHNOLOGY, NKPOLU-OROWOROKWU, PORT
HARCOURT.

AUGUST, 2015
DECLARATION
I hereby declare that this is my original work and has not been previously submitted
anywhere for the purpose of awarding a degree .

_________________________ ___________________
EWA, CECILIA JABE Date
DE.2010/PT/1771
APPROVAL
We, the undersigned approve this research work to be adequate in scope and quality for
the award of Bachelor in Science Degree in Technical Education.

___________________ ____________________
DR. AMADI-ERIC, C. Date
Supervisor
DEDICATION
This project work is dedicated to God Almighty who saw me through the University
despite challenges.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I was able to complete this research project with the assistance and contributions of
different persons. Hence, I want to thank my research project supervisor, Dr. Amadi-Eric,
C for his corrections and suggestions which made the completion of this research a
reality. Thank you Sir.

I am also immensely grateful to my parents, friends and fellow artistes for the moral and
logistics support they gave me while I was carrying out this research.

I thank Chris Wonu, Esq for his kindness toward me all through my years in the
University and for making current materials on the subject of research available to me.
God bless you Sir.

Finally, I thank my lecturers and course mates for your various acts of kindness. Im
grateful.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Contents Page

Title page i

Declaration page ii

Approval page iii

Dedication iv

Acknowledgments v

Table of contents vi

List of Tables vii

Abstract viii

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study 1


1.2 Statement of problem 2
1.3 Purpose of the study 3
1.4 Research questions 3
1.5 Significance of the study 4
1.6 Scope of the study 4
1.7 Definition of terms 5

CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Theoretical framework 6


a. Time displacement theory 6
b. Uses and gratification theory 7
2.2 Review of concepts 9
a. The concept of social media 9
b. Social networking sites (SNSs) 11
c. Social media for academic purposes 12
d. The concept of academic performance 17
e. Rivers State University of Science and Technology 19
f. Effects of social media on academic performance 20
2.3 Review of empirical studies 23
a. Why students make use of social media 24
b. Time spent by students on social media 26
c. Social media and students grades 29
2.4 Summary of the review 36

CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

3.1 Study design 38


3.2 Population of study 39
3.3 Sample and sampling techniques 39
3.4 Instrumentation 41
3.5 Validity of the instrument 41
3.6 Reliability of the instrument 42
3.7 Administration of the instrument 42
3.8 Data analysis technique 42

CHAPTER 4: DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION


4.1 Data presentation 43
4.2 Discussion of findings 47
4.3 Summary of findings 50

CHAPTER 5: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1 Summary 52
5.2 Conclusion 53
5.3 Recommendations 54
5.4 Limitations of the study 55
5.5 Suggestions for further study 55

References 56

Appendices
Appendix A 64
Appendix B 65

List of Tables Table

Table 4.1: Hours spent on SNS daily 43


Table 4.2: Purpose of use of SNSs 44
Table 4.3: Effect of social media on CGPA 45
ABSTRACT
This study investigated the effects of social media on the academic perfo rmance of Nigerian
university students using Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) as a
case study. The study used the causal comparative research design. 400 students of the
University were accidentally sampled from a population of 29, 939 students. Data was
collected from the respondents through a structured questionnaire which was responded to on
a scale of Yes, No and Undecided. The validation of the instrument was arrived at
through the pre-test and post-test method. Three research questions were presented and
answered through simple percentages. The study found that: majority of RSUST students use
SNSs for various reasons ranging from entertainment and communication to socialization
and education; male students used social media for information and academics while females
used SNSs for socialization and entertainment, but, as the age of the respondents (both sexes)
increased, they generally use SNSs for information and academic purposes, than for
socialization and entertainment; majority of RSUST students spend not less than 6 hours on
SNSs daily surfing the websites and interacting with other users for academic and non-
academic purposes; and most students of RSUST believe that the use of SNSs negatively
affect their academics in that SNSs reduce the time they spend on their studies, distract them
during lectures and library sessions as well as directly affect their cumulative grade point
average. It recommends that: the authorities in tertiary institutions in Nigeria should enact
rules and regulations that will curtail or restrict students use of social networking sites
during lectures and library sessions; students should endeavor to use social media for
academic purposes; use more time on their studies than on social media because of the
negative effects and use wikis (a type of social media) like Wikipedia that promote learning
and academic research.
CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the study

Since the popularization of the internet in the 1990s and the emergence of social

networking sites in 1994 and beyond, there is abundant evidence that millions of people

across the world use social media on a regular basis for various reasons (Daluba &

Maxwell, 2013). Though social media use cuts across all age groups, studies have

however shown that it is predominant among young persons (Onuoha & Saheed, 2011)

and students of institutions of higher education (Dahlstrom, de Boor, Grunwald, &

Vockley, 2011; Al-rahmi, Othman & Musa, 2014). In fact, Rosen (2011) found that while

those born between 1965-1979 (Generation X), spend approximately 13 hours per day

on social media, those born between 1990-1999 (I Generation) however spend not less

than 20 hours per day on social media. Kalra and Manani (2013) pointed out that these

young people use social media for interaction, socialization and entertainment.

Given the popularity and dominance of social media among students of higher

institutions, stakeholders in the educational sector across the world have been gravely

concerned about its possible effects on students academics ( Shah, Subramanian, Rouis,

& Limayem, 2012; Miah, Omar & Allison-Golding, 2012; Ezeah, Asogwa & Edogor,

2013). This is because studies have shown that social media has both positive and

negative effects on students (Yahya, Olalekan, Afolabi, & Ayelaagbe 2013).

Thus, while generally, social media presents such benefits as encouraging greater

social interaction via electronic mediums, providing greater access to information and
information sources, creating a sense of belonging among users, reducing barriers to

group interaction and communications such as distance and social/economic status, and

increasing the technological competency levels of frequent users of social media, among

others (Connolly, 2011; Zwart, Lindsay, Henderson & Phillips, 2011); however, anxiety,

poor eating habits, short attention spans, subverted higher-order reasoning skills among

frequent users of social media, a tendency to overestimate ones ability to multi-task ,

and technology being seen as a substitute for the analytical reasoning process, have been

noted as its potential risks (Rosen, 2011; Anderson & Rainie, 2012). Collectively, these

benefits and risks play roles in a students educational process to various degrees and at

various times (Mozee, no date).

Given the foregoing therefore, this study seeks to examine the effect of social

media on the academic performance of university students in Nigeria with the Rivers

State University of Science and Technology as a case study.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Though studies are united that social media does affect students academic

performance, there are however conflicting findings on whether the said effect is positive

or negative. Thus, while a considerable body of research in Nigeria and other parts of the

world has found that social media use enhances the academic performance of university

students, others have however found that it stifles academic performance (Ahmed &

Qazi, 2011; Shah et al, 2012; Onyeka, Ibrahim & Dalhatu, 2013; Hameed, Maqbool,

Aslam, Hassan, & Anwar, 2013; Eke, Omekwu, & Odoh, 2014).
Similarly, while there is a growing body of research on the effect of social media

on the academic performance of students of various tertiary institutions in Nigeria, there

appears to be no publicly-available work that has studied the subject within the context of

Rivers State University of Science and Technology. Thus, this study seeks to fill that

scholarly void by examining what effects (if any) social media has on the academic

performance of students of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port

Harcourt, Nigeria.

1.3 Purpose of the study

The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of social media on the academic

performance of university students in Nigeria using Rivers State University of Science

and Technology as a case study. In specific terms, the study aims to:

1. Examine why students of Rivers State University of Science and Technology

make use of social media;

2. Determine how often students of Rivers State University of Science and

Technology make use of social media; and

3. Determine whether social media affects the cumulative grade point average

(CGPA) of students of Rivers State University of Science and Technology.

1.4 Research questions

This study is undertaken to answer the following research questions:


1. Why do students of Rivers State University of Science and Technology make use

of social media?

2. What is the number of hours each day spent by students of Rivers State University

of Science and Technology on social media; and

3. What is the effect of social media on the cumulative grade point average (CGPA)

of students of Rivers State University of Science and Technology?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study will be useful to educational administrators not only in their quest to

determine how social media affects students academics, but also in the recent move by

various educational institutions to incorporate elements of social media into higher

education. The work also adds to a stock of materials on the subject while bringing a new

perspective within the context of Rivers State University of Science and Technology, and

thus, researchers and scholars will find it useful.

1.6 Scope of the study

This study is specifically designed to examine the effects of social media on the

academic performance of university students in Nigeria using Rivers State University of

Science and Technology as a case study. It therefore excludes other psychological and o r

environmental factors that do affect the academic performance of university students

generally. The work is also limited to Rivers State University of Science and Technology,
Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and does not seek to present a general finding that applies

universally.

1.7 Definition of terms

Within the context of this study, the following terms are defined thus:

Social media: different types of communication technologies that facilitate social

interaction and make possible collaboration between people. This research is primarily

concerned with the use of social networking sites (SNSs) as a type of social media.

Academic performance: how students deal with their studies and how they cope with or

accomplish different tasks given to them by their teachers, within this work measured

from the standpoint of academic grades.


CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW
A review of literature is an important part of any research because, it not only

affords a researcher the opportunity of knowing what areas have been covered and what

remains to be covered, but also enables him to determine what technique to employ in the

investigation (Nworgu, 1991). Therefore, this Chapter will examine available literature

on the subject under study by looking at the theoretical framework, review of concepts

and empirical studies. The chapter concludes with a summary of reviewed literature.

2.1 Theoretical framework

This work will be guided by two theories:

a. Time displacement theory

b. Uses and gratification theory

a. Time displacement theory

The time displacement theory assumes that people have a limited amount of time

to do a particular thing (Mutz, Roberts & van Vuuren, 1993). Increased amounts of time

on a particular activity will displace other activities. According to Neuman (1991), when

people increase the time they spend online engaging in social and/or recreational

activities, time sacrifices will have to be made in other areas, such as time spent on

studying, reading, and doing homework.

In terms of students use of the internet, it has been opined that this displacement

may happen because the internet, which entertains young students with stimulating
images as well as visual and auditory effects, is more attractive and immediately

gratifying than school-related activities (Kim, 2011). Consequently, using the Internet

will result in the displacement of academic activities, as television once did, and will

eventually decrease the students academic achievement as held by Koshal, Koshal &

Gupta, (1996), Aderson, Huston, Schmitt, Linebarger, Wright, & Larson (2001), Shin

(2004), and Shejwal and Purayidathil (2006). Researchers have further reported that

problematic Internet use among adolescents brings negative outcomes in school

performance, as well as to social skills (Caplan, 2005). Therefore, it is anticipated that

Nigerian university students use of the social media for educational purposes will

positively affect their academic achievement, while their non-educational use of social

media, especially their recreational use, will negatively affect their academic

performance.

This theory is thus relevant to this work as it will explain whether or not the time

spent by students on social media has any displacement effect on their studies and by

extension, their academic performance.

b. Uses and gratification theory

The Uses and Gratification Theory (UGT) is of the notion that there are distinct

benefits the media message consumers envisage to get from any medium they would

expose themselves to. Once the medium does not deliver to the people those purposes,

needs and or benefits they anticipate from the organ, the tendency is that they (the

audience) will desert the very channel or content that does not satisfy them. The import is
that the media audience is not an idle soccer spectator that accepts what his football

team plays: failure of a medium to satisfy the audiences basic desire regularly will give

them room to search for another medium (Ezeah et al, 2013). Thus, according to

McQuail (2010), the central question posed [by the theory] is: why do people use media,

and what do they use them for?

While McQuail (2010) stated that the first research conducted on the uses and

gratifications theory dates from the early 1940s, and focused on the reasons for the

popular appeal of different radio programmes, especially soap operas and quizzes,

however, it is generally agreed among scholars that the theory as it stands today was

developed by Katz, Blumler, and Gurevitch in 1974 (Weimer & Dominick, 2011;

Anjugu, 2013; Mehmood & Taswir, 2013).

The theory is applicable to this study because the students in the university

communities usage of the social media channels depends largely on the specific

satisfaction they derive from them. Therefore, this study focuses on ascertaining the

purposes and the benefits which the new media serve for their student-users that

invariably sustain their usage. It presupposes that there are certain satisfactions the new

media provide to the students without which their usage would have been waned. This

study shall unearth the benefits or gratifications which the social media or the new media

present to their teeming number of student-users within the Rivers State University of

Science and Technology.


2.2 Review of concepts

This subhead reviews the following concepts: social media, social media for

academic purposes, academic performance, Rivers State University of Sc ience and

Technology, and effect of social media on academic performance.

a. The concept of social media

Social media has emerged as a term frequently used (and variously defined) to

describe different types of communication platforms and electronic ways of interacting

(Mozee, no date). Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) defined it as a group of internet based

applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0,

allows the creation and exchange of user- generated content and depend on mobile and

Web based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals

and communities share, create, discuss and modify user- generated content.

Bryer and Zavatarro (2011) saw it as technologies that facilitate social

interaction, make possible collaboration, and enable deliberations across stakeholders.

Anjugu (2013) describes social media as a group of internet based application that

allows the creation and exchange of users generated content, while Ezeah et al (2013)

defines it as modern interactive communication channels through which people connect

to one another, share ideas, experiences, pictures, messages and information of common

interest.

Social media has been classified by Anjugu (2013) into:


Social Bookmarking interact by tagging website and searching through website

book marked by others (Blink List, Simple);

Social News interact by voting for articles and commenting on them (Digg,

Propello).

Social Networking interact by adding friends, commenting on photo and profiles,

sharing groups for discussions (Facebook, 2go, Blackberry Messenger chat);

Social Photo and Video Sharing interact by sharing photos or videos and

commenting on the user submission (YouTube and Flicker); and

Wikis interact by adding articles and editing existing articles (Wikipedia).

Social media is fast becoming very popular means of both interperso nal and public

communication in Nigeria and the world at large. As Daluba and Maxwell (2013) put it,

The traditional way of meeting each other is long gone and now the world meets at

social media websites. What distinguishes social media from the conventional means of

communication is their interactive nature which allows the audience to participate in it

from any part of the world they reside. McQuail (2010) differentiates the social media

from the traditional mass media when he noted that traditional m ass communication was

essentially one-directional, while the new forms of communication are essentially

interactive.

This interactive aura of the new media confers an unprecedented popularity on

them. Social media by their nature have the capabilities of educating, informing,

entertaining and inflaming the audience. Above all, they possess a contagious and
outreaching influence which the conventional media lack (Ezeah et al, 2013). While

generally, social media is a broad term which encompasses many we bsites with social

networking sites (SNSs) being just one example of social media websites (Tamayo &

Cruz, 2014), this research is however primarily concerned with the use of social media

through social networking sites (SNSs).

b. Social networking sites (SNSs)

Boyd and Ellison (2007) defined Social Networking Sites as web-based services

that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded

system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, a nd (3)

view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.

Ahmed and Qazi (2011) state that the first official social networking site was

Classmates.com launched in 1995 to provide students with a means of connecting during

or after graduation from school.

Boyd and Ellison (2007) however, while recognizing that classmates.com was

created in 1995, pointed out that given their definition of social networking sites as

quoted above, the first recognizable social network site was SixDegrees.com launched

in 1997. It was the first because it allowed users to create profiles, list their friends and

surf friends lists which classmates.com could not permit as at when it was created.

According to Ahmed and Qazi (2011):

After it [Classmates.com], SixDegree.com was created in 1997 leading


towards the chain of emergence of Cyworld (2001), Friendster (2002),
Skyblog (2002), Orkut (2004), Myspace (2005), Yahoo 360 (2005), Twitter
(2006) and Facebook (2006). There is an availability of over 100 social
networking online connecting millions of users, that is, 500 million
members on Facebook; 130 million members on MySpace.com; 75 million
members on Linkedin.com; 90 million members on Friendster.com; over 10
million users on Stumbleupo n.com; Orkut.com with membership of 100
million users; 50 million members on Classmates.com; 2 million members
on Meetup.com; Xanga.com with 27 million members; Care2.com with
Over 9 million members; Ryze.com with 500, 000 members and so on
(p.5023).
The researchers also reported that internet users who visit SNSs or any blogging

site comprise two-third of worlds internet users consuming about 10% of the whole time

spent on internet and accounts for 65% of internet usage. Similarly, 44% of the

Americas Internet traffic accounts for social networking sites usage. The 20 most-visited

social networking Web sites have more than 145 million users (Ahmed & Qazi, 2011).

The same trend has been reported in Nigeria. While Ahmad (2014) noted that as at

2007, the number of Nigerians on all social networking sites was below 40, 000,

however, in 2009 and 2010, there were 212,000 and 657,360 Facebook users respectively

who indicated Nigeria: almost 53% increase and more than 60% indicated they were

students. The author, relying on data from the Internet World Statistics, stated that in

2014, there were not less than 6,630,200 Nigerian Facebook users. Given the popularity

of social networking sites among young people especially, there have been moves to

incorporate it in the educational process.

c. Social media for academic purposes

Social media is generally used on a regular basis by millions of people across the

globe for different reasons. A big portion of social media users is made up of youths
where most of them are college students. In fact, a recent survey of 3000 students from

across the US shows that 90% of college students use Facebook and 37% use Twitter

(Dahlstrom et al., 2011). Given the popularity of social media, a number of universities

are using them as marketing program and as a means of communication with current and

prospective students and also the alumni. University professors are embracing the social

media for effective discussions and dealing with their students in matters relating to

academics and improving learning benefits through better communication within and

outside the classes(Al-rahmi et al., 2014).

Studies have shown that Facebook is the most popular social tool used where 85 to

99% of college students use it for different purposes (Hargittai, 2008; Jones & Fox, 2009;

Matney & Borland, 2009). On this basis, curriculum developers have been examining the

learning environments and different activities with the aim of internationalizing learning

and teaching in the way that will recognize and respect and also usefully engage the

ethnic and cultural diversity of students. Social media communicatio n and collaborative

technology capabilities such as threaded bulletin boards are used to support

internationalized teaching and learning and have been found to be effective in this case

(Leask, 2004). The value of interactive social media technologies in high institutions of

learning is now recognized in the way that teaching and learning strategies is in an

increasingly globalized process (Gray, Chang & Kennedy, 2010). One of the most

commonly cited benefits of social media by scholars is their ability to facilitate

collaborative learning and communication among peers and with people outside
academia (Collins & Hide, 2010; Rowlands, Nicholas, Russell, Canty & Watkinson,

2011).

Another frequently reported advantage of social networking is its remarkable

ability to facilitate information distribution. Among the examples include blogging tools

which are used by many students to disseminate information within their area, their peers

and also to everyone globally (Bukvova, Kalb & Schoop, 2010; Luzon, 2009). The ability

to explore unasked questions inside a less formal atmosphere, getting a strong voice

through web technology, and getting a location to go over issues within an open, public

format are other provisions of social media (Kirkup, 2010). Other than communication,

scholarly Twitter users cite information distribution among the primary advantages of

social networking and have proven to become popular especially in academic

conferences (Letierce, Passant, Breslin & Decker, 2010; Ross, Terras, Warwick & Welsh,

2011).

Social networking is playing a big role in boosting academic like in social sciences

and in education systems as a whole. Many studies have addressed different aspects of

using social networking at various academic and social levels. Social media may be

applied by schools in various ways, like the Facebook was recommended as a way of

communication for getting together with students (Mack, 2007).

Undergraduate students of IT attest that social networking has continuously

improved their academic success from 2007 to 2010 (Smith & Caruso, 2010). Most

students in higher institutions of learning wish their institutions alter their means of
communication to social networks for strengthening class instruction because it is where

they spend most of the time. Social media usage enhances educational access and

interaction and it fills the learning gap informally between students and the instructors

(Bull, Thompson, Searson, Garofalo, Park, Young & Lee, 2008).

Integrating social media for both entertainment and learning is common among

students in higher level of education. College students use various social media

applications to the extent that it is now an indispensable part of their everyday life for

personal and learning purposes (Cao & Hong, 2011; Dahlstrom, 2012). Mobile

technologies and smart phones interweave social media in their palms and at their simple

and customized command (Dahlstrom, 2012).

Many academicians have a fear that time spent on social media is beyond the

required time, this may lead to plagiarism and privacy issues and in most cases contribute

minimally to actual student learning outcomes. They often view the using social media as

superfluous or simply not conducive for better learning outcomes (Moran, Seaman, &

Tinti-Kane, 2012). Studies have proved that most students invest time and efforts on

social networks in building relationships around on shared interests and on same grounds

(Maloney, 2007). It has convinced some experts in education that to incorporate social

media towards the conventional interaction and dialogue between students and teachers

simplifies most of the difficulties used to be in education. Some students even welc ome

the capability of social media services to provide teachers a forum for simple networking

and positive networking with students.


There are however challenges attendant upon the use of social media for

educational purposes. It has been reported that one of the problems associated with using

social networking sites for scientific studies is the possibility of students spending a lot of

time on them and denying other important aspects the time they deserve (Rowlands et al.,

2011). Rithika and Selvarag (2013) also pointed out that though social media can increase

student learning through student interactions, challenges arise when social media are

incorporated into an academic course.

The assumption that students are familiar with and agreeable to using ce rtain types

of social media can cause educators to inadvertently fail to provide the resources or

encouragement necessary to support student usage and learning. When social media is

used for an educational purpose, students incorporate the technology into their lives in a

way that may differ from the intentions of the course instructor. For example, off -topic or

non-academic discussions occur on social media because of its primary design as a social

networking tool. Further, as a students age increases, the frequency of off-topic

discussions also increases. This indicates that while social media may encourage broader

discussions of course content, older students may spend more time than younger students

engaging in unrelated discussions.

Notwithstanding, the key advantage of using social media to aid learning and

teaching can only be fully achieved with the existence of clear rules that stipulate the dos

and donts so as to ensure that whatever students engage in are aimed at gaining the

educational benefits of social media (Rutherford, 2010). In most cases the prospective

benefits have been achieved where institutions of higher learning regulate to a certain
level the use of social media (Kear, 2011). However, due to the rapid growth of usage of

social media many institutions of learning have not created strategies for using social

media: this is dangerous and should be revisited.

d. The concept of academic performance

Tuckman (1975) defined academic performance as the apparent demonstration of

understanding, concepts, skills, ideas and knowledge by a person. It refers to how

students deal with their studies and how they cope with or accomplish different tasks

given to them by their teachers (Hameed et al., 2013; Helou & Rahim, 2014). Academic

performance is used interchangeably with academic achievement which refers to a

successful accomplishment or performance in a particular subject area. It is indicated as

by grades, marks and scores of descriptive commentaries. It includes how pupils deal

with their studies and how they cope with or accomplish different tasks given to them by

their teachers in a fixed time or academic year (Adane, 2013). Students academic

achievement plays an important role in producing the best quality graduates who will

become great leaders and manpower for the country thus responsible for the countrys

economic and social development (Ali, Jusoff, Ali, Mokhtar & Salamt, 2009). This study

would look at academic performance as measured from the angle of grades or

Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA).

Adane (2013) noted four groups of factors that influence the academic

achievement of students: home-related factors, school-related factors, student

characteristics and teacher-side factors. Salvation and Adzharuddin (2014, p. 134), while
conceding that students academic performance is a multidimensional construct,

however opined that it consists of three dimensions: students characteristics,

teacher/lecturers competencies and academic environment. The students characteristics

dimension of the academic performance concerns how students deal with their studies

and how they cope with or accomplish different tasks given to them by their teachers help

define the extent of performance (Loo & Choy, 2013). The determinants of this

dimension are students intelligence, personality and the socio-economic status. Within

the academic context, for example, students ability to study and remember facts and

being able to communicate their knowledge verbally or down on paper enhances

academic performance. Teachers competencies dimension of academic performance, on

the other hand, concerns how well teachers can impart knowledge on students. However,

the number of non-human elements in the academic environment and their functionality

help define the academic performance of students. Within the academic environment, for

example, the amount and quality of facilities such as library, laboratory, suitable

classrooms, decent hostels and other teaching aids could enhance or suppress students

performance.

Chukwuemeka (2013) has noted school facilities, climate factors, home

background and technology as key environmental factors that affect the academic

performance of students. My interest in the present study is on social media technology

as one of the environmental factors that may likely affect the academic performance of

students of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology.


e. Rivers State University of Science and Technology

Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) was establis hed in

October, 1980, from the Rivers State College of Science and Technology which was

established in 1972. It is located at Nkpolu-Oroworukwo in Port Harcourt, the capital of

Rivers State, Nigeria. It is the first technological university in Nigeria and the first state-

owned University in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The motto of the University is

"Excellence and Creativity" (Rivers State University of Science and Technology, no

date).

The University has staff strength of 1,870 and a student population of 29,939. It

was ranked as the 16th in 2015 among 80 other Universities in Nigeria. The language of

instruction in the institution is English. The mandate of the University was established to:

produce scientific and technical manpower of various levels needed for essential

development;

produce technical and science teachers for developmental programmes;

assist in the industrial and other developmental programmes through consultancy

services, special project centres and related activities;

encourage the advancement of learning to all persons without distinction or race,

creed, sex or political conviction the opportunity of acquiring a higher and liberal

education;
provide courses of instruction and other facilities for the pursuit of learning in all

the faculties and institutes, and to make facilities available on proper terms of such

persons as are equipped to benefit from them;

encourage and promote scholarship and conduct research in all fields of learning

and human endeavour;

relate its activities to the social, cultural and economic needs of the people of

Nigeria; and

undertake any other activities appropriate for a University of the highest standard.

The University has seven faculties: Agriculture, Engineering, Environmental

Sciences, Law, Manageme nt Sciences, Science, and Technical and Science Education;

and a Postgraduate School. It runs 37 programmes at the undergraduate level and 86 at

the postgraduate level. According to the Rivers State University of Science and

Technology News Bulletin (2014, April), The university has a robust e-campus

management system and remains the foremost e-Varsity in the country, running a

paperless (e-Senate). RSUST has one of the largest ICT centres, which houses over

1,000 workstations; and runs the largest IT academy in the country in partnership with

Microsoft, Cisco and Intel. The university IT Centre has successfully implemented e -

exams (p. 60).

f. Effects of social media on academic performance

It is generally agreed that social media has both positive and negative effects on

the academic performance of students across the world:


Positive effects

Eke et al (2014) has noted the following positive impacts of social media on the

academics of students:

i. Web engagement: In a word where online engagement is important for businesses,

students are becoming experts at developing a sense of internet presence. Not only

do they know how to interact with others on the internet, they know how to use

basic and even complex functions in order to do so. Thus, students use soci al

networking sites to interact with their peers and even teachers about class -related

subjects.

ii. Informal knowledge and skill: Social Networking sites can facilitate learning and

skill development outside formal learning environments by supporting peer - to

peer learning, skills collaboration and diverse cultural expression. The knowledge

and skill young people are learning through SNSs are directly relevant to the

participatory web in which user generated content is now integral in a rapidly

developing online business model that capitalizes on the social networks,

creativity and knowledge of its users; and this means that new business models are

expected to emerge.

iii. Education: Social networking sites help in schools and universities programmes.

Such social networking sites for example, blogs help to leverage or complement

formal educational activities and enhancing outcomes. SNSs are also used to

extend opportunities for formal learning across geographical contexts. Thus, social
media can enhance the interactions of marginalized young people with their

teacher and increase their confidence in educational activities.

iv. Individual identify and self-expression: Because SNSs are essentially flexible and

designed to promote individual customization , they are used to experiment as well

as find legitimacy for their political, cultural or sexual identity. Social networking

sites can provide users with a space to work out identity and status, make sense of

cultural cues, negotiate public life and increase users sense of personal belonging.

This sense of personal belonging and identity has been positively correlated with

academic performance.

v. Strengthening interpersonal relationships: generally, studies have found that

having positive interpersonal relationships is an important predictor of wellbeing.

Social media by and large, has been found to strengthen individual interpersonal

relationships. Email, instant messaging and social networking can address new

barriers people may face to forming and maintaining public plac es together,

limited transport to get there, and time free of structured activities such as school

and sport.

Negative effects

Social media has been noted to have some negative effects on students

academics:

i. Displacement effect on academic activities: since majority of students use

social networking sites socializing purposes, they therefore tend to spend more

time for socializing rather than learning. Thus, excessive use of SNSs reduces
students academic performance since time meant for studies is used o n non-

academic issues like chatting and making friends (Sal vation &Adzharuddin

2014).

ii. Psychological disorders and health problems: anxiety, depression, poor eating

habits, and lack of physical exercise; increasingly short attention spans and

subverted higher-order reasoning skills such as concentration, persistence, and

analytical reasoning among frequent users of social media; a tendency to

overestimate ones ability to multi-task and manage projects; and technology

being seen as a substitute for the analytical reasoning process. Collectively,

these play roles in a students educational process to various degrees and at

various times (Mozee, no date).

2.3 Review of empirical studies

There is a tremendous body of growing literature on the effect of social media on

the academic performance of students across the world (Hargittai & Hsieh, 2010;

Salvation & Adzharuddin, 2014). While some of these studies (Kirschner & Karpinski,

2010; Shah et al., 2012) have only examined the subject within the context of spec ific

social media like Facebook, other studies (Anjugu, 2013; Okereke & Oghenetega, 2014)

have however studied the subject holistically. Given the fact that some of these studies

overlap, it will be most appropriate to review them under separate headings vis-a-vis the

research questions for clarity purposes following the organisation of study review along

the line of the research objectives as recommended by Nwankwo (2006).


a. Why students make use of social media

Studies across the world show that young people, and indeed, university/college

students make use of social media. Over the years, researches have sought to figure out

the purposes behind students use of social media. McLoughlin and Lee (2008) asserted

that online social networks allow learners to access peers, experts, and the wider

community in ways that enable reflective, self-directed learning. Joinson (2008)

provided a list of factors that motivate people to join online social networks that included

social connection, shared identities, content, social investigating, social network surfing,

and status updating. Similarly, Kimberly, Charles, Nicole, Sittie, Gemeile and Ikka

(2009) argued that the involvement of a student in activities such as making friends on

online social networks should be seen as a way of having access to up-to-date

information that can be channeled towards improving academic performance which they

described as how students cope with or accomplish different tasks given to them by their

teachers. Santos, Hammond, Durli and Chou (2009) studied students in Singapore and

Brazil, and discovered that many of the Brazilian students used online social networks to

socialize and discuss their studies while the Singaporean students used them for social

interactions only.

Mehmood and Taswir (2013) in The effects of social networking sites on the

academic performance of students in College of Applied Sciences, Nizwa, Oman found

that students use social media for: downloading/uploading music/video, posting photos,

chatting, blogging, creating polls/quizzes, submitting articles to website and

communication with teachers/class. Thus, while the first three are basically for
entertainment purposes, the last three however, are for academic purposes. The

researchers therefore pointed out: This reflects that SNS were used by students for

entertainment mostly and less for educational purposes. While most students used social

networks for entertainment purposes, 72 % agreed that they used to social networks while

working on classroom assignmentsThis high score indicates that students find social

networks helpful in getting guidance and information related to their subject. Helou and

Ab.rahim (2014) studying the subject in the context of Malaysian university students

also found that students use social networking sites for making friends, receiving and

sending messages, chatting with friends, playing games, sharing files, and

communicating with supervisors or lecturers.

The same trend appears to be the case in Nigeria. Thus, Onyeka et al (2013) in

"The effect of social networking sites usage on the studies of Nigerian students"

researched how the use of social media affects students of tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

600 respondents were drawn from 3 tertiary institutions from Adamawa State. One o f the

research questions was: Why do students of tertiary institutions use SNSs. It was

however found that students use social networking sites so as to: keep in touch with

others; while away time; maintain a sense of belonging; and to solve social problems.

Similarly, Ezeah et al (2013) in Social media use among students of universities in

South-East Nigeria found that Nigerian students use social media to watch movies, to

expose themselves to pornography, and for discussion of serious national issue s like

politics, economy and religion. Eke et al (2014) in The use of social networking sites

among the undergraduate students of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, researched the use
of social networking sites among the undergraduate students of University of Nigeria,

Nsukka (UNN). The study adopted the descriptive survey research design to derive

responses from a random sample of 150 undergraduate students of the university. Data

was collected from the subjects using questionnaire. The result of the study r evealed that

UNN students use SNSs for the purpose of: communicating and interacting with friends;

online learning; finding friends online; leisure and personal socialization; searching for

job; academic discussion and getting study partners online; watchi ng movies; connecting

and interacting with business partners; communicating, mobilizing and organizing

national issues like politics, economy and religious matters; updating profile information.

In sum, it can be deduced from the empirical studies across the world that students

use the social networking sites for various reasons ranging from entertainment and

communication to education and socialization. Given these multiplicity of reasons why

students use social media, studies have also looked into the amount of time students

invest in social media

b. Time spent by students on social media

Rosen (2009), quoted in Kirschner and Karpinski (2009, p. 4) declared as follows

about the modern generation of young people:

"Welcome to the Net Generation. Born in the 1980s and 1990s, they spend
their days immersed in a media diet accumulating a fulltime job plus
overtime devouring entertainment, communication, and every form of
electronic media. They are master multitaskers, social networkers,
electronic communicators and the first to rush to any new technology.
They were born surrounded by technology and with every passing year add
more tools to their electronic repertoire. They live in social networks such
as Facebook, MySpace, and Second Life gathering friends; they text more
than they talk on the phone; and they Twitter the night away often sleeping
with their cell phones vibrating by their sides".
This clearly indicates that social media is part and parcel of youth life today. Thus,

over the years, scholars have examined how much time students invest in social media.

Lin (2010) found that majority of college students in the United States used SNSs at least

one hour a day. Ahamed and Qazi (2011) in a study of 6 universities in Pakistan, found

that majority of the students spent 1-3 hours daily on social networking sites. Tham

(2011) in a study conducted at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota found that, while

both males and females spent time spent on SNSs, the said time however, decreased as

the age of the respondents increased and the results revealed that female college students

spent more time on SNSs than male students. Jagero and Muriithi (2013) in the context

of students in private universities in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, found that a majority of

the students spent 30 minutes to 1 hr daily on social networking sites.

In Nigeria, Onyeka et al (2013) found that majority of university students in

Adamawa State spent 2-4 hours daily on social networking sites, while Anjugu (2013) in

a study of students of the University of Abuja found that: 92 respondents (70.8%) spend

6 hours online, 30 respondents (23.1%) spend 4 hours online, 6 respondents (4.6%) spend

2 hours online, and 2 respondents (1.5%) spend 1 hour online. Akubugwo and Burke

(2013) in the "Effect of social media on post graduate students during academic lectures

and library session: A case study of Salford University Manchester, United Kingdom"

examined the attitude of post graduate students to social media usage during academic

lectures and library session. The researchers randomly sampled and administered
questionnaires on 120 students and interviewed six (6) students. After analyzing data

quantitatively and qualitatively, it was not only found that many students use social

media especially Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter during academic classes, but also that

social media negatively impact on the students academic progress. It was thus

concluded:

"The study has shown that social media affects students performance during
academic and library session. It therefore suggest that University social
media policy must be made mandatory for every institution and remain
implemented since findings from this study shows that academic work is
negatively affected. Software developers should create software that could
be used to control social media usage in the campus so that students will
not lose their primary aim of being in the University" (p.49).
Asemah et al (2013) examined the influence of social media on the academic

performance of the undergraduate students of Kogi State University, Nigeria. The study,

anchored on social information processing theory and media equation theory, adopted a

survey method, employing a questionnaire as an instrument of data collection. The study

found that social media has a negative effect on the academic performance of Nigerian

students in that students: spend more time on social media than reading their books; rely

on social media to do their assignments without consulting other sources; who spend

more time on social media are likely to perform poorly in their academic activities than

those who do not.

Iorliam and Ode (2014) in The impact of social network usage on university

students academic performance: a case study of Benue State University Makurdi,

Nigeria, sampled 1,596 students, focusing on three key impact areas: the time spent on

social media, the frequency of visiting social media and the relationship between the
volume of social friends and a students academic performance. Correlation and

regression analyses were used to determine and measure the extent to which the three

variables were related to students CGPA and it was found that the time spent on social

media, the frequency of visit and the total number of online friends has a statistically

significant relationship with a students academic performance. The researchers therefore

recommended that access to social media should be restricted and controlled, and the idle

time should rather be channeled into studying:

In examining the amount of time spent by those using social media, 402
of the 1596 respondents indicated they spent less than one hour per day;
and 258 of the 1596 respondents indicated they spent between one to two
hours per day using social media. Overwhelmingly, 750 respondents
representing 47% of the respondents revealed that they were always active.
This is made possible by the sophisticated handheld devices that are
connected to the internet 24 hours a day (p. 276).
Given the amount of time invested by university students on social media ac ross the

world, studies have directly studied its possible effect on students grade.

b. Social media and students grades

Since the rise of social media in recent times, studies have sought to determine its

possible effects on students academic grades. Studies on the subject may be grouped into

three:

a. those who claim that social media positively affects students grades;

b. those who claim that social media negatively affects students grades; and

c. those who claim that the nature of the effect largely depends on the user and

the intensity of usage.


Researchers across the world have found a positive relationship between use of

internet/social media and the academic performance of student users. Thus, students

using internet more were found to score higher on reading skills test and had higher

grades as well (Ahmed & Qazi, 2011). Pasek, Kenski, Romer and Jamieson (2006) not

only found that Facebook usage is not directly associated with lower grades of the

students as reported in some studies, but also that Facebook users score higher grades. No

association was found between GPAs of student users and Facebook usage in a study

conducted by Kolek and Saunders (2008). Social networking sites have even been found

to provide a rich mean of interaction between teachers and students (Roblyer, McDaniel,

Webb,Herman & Witty, 2010).

Onuoha and Shaeed (2011) in Perceived influence of online social networks on

academic performance: a study of undergraduates in selected universities in Ogun State,

Nigeria, investigated the perceived influence of online social networks on

undergraduates academic performance using data from a descriptive survey of 402

respondents from Babcock University, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, and

Olabisi Onanbanjo University. Data collected were analysed using frequency and

percentage counts. Results revealed that majority of the respondents make use of online

social networks even though motivation for use is more for social interaction than

academic purposes. Most of the respondents, however, agreed that the use of online

social networks have positive influence on their academic performance.

Mehmood and Taswir (2013) investigated pedagogical impacts of social

networking sites on the linguistic and social behaviours of undergraduate stude nts at the
College of Applied Sciences, Nizwa, Oman. The study on the whole, found positive

effects of social media on the academics of Oman students and concluded:

" ...students have started using social networks for academic purposes.
While some students perceived SNS as a distraction and were hesitant to
share their feelings, a high percentage of respondents found it an avenue to
search for information, join educational networks and look for career
opportunities. The use of SNS gave them a sense of belonging to an
academic community, as their online friends were mostly those who they
met in college. Two step flow interactions, student to student and teacher to
student favored academic learning through social networks... The beneficial
results of this campaign and the uses and gratifications highlighted in this
study, shows social networks as a significant influence in the academic
performance of students. Yet the use of these networks has to be disciplined
as it can lead to distraction from education".
Morallo (2014) in the effects of social networking sites on students' academic

performance in Lyceum of the Philippines- Laguna, found a statistically significant

positive relationship between time spent by students on SNSs and their academic

performance and that the higher the time spent on SNSs showed the lower is the time

spent on studying. Hence, correlation analysis showed an inverse relationship between

the GPA and the number of SNSs accounts being maintained by the students, the

frequency of SNSs use, since when they have SNSs, length of SNSs use, and the number

of study hours. The results revealed that as these mentioned variables increases, the GPA

also increases, showing that SNSs had made a contribution in the attainment of higher

grades. However, such relationships are not significant. Therefore, the study found that

SNSs usage had no significant relationship on student academic performance. The

improvement in the grade relies on other factors within the teaching-learning process and

thus could not be attributed to the use of SNS alone.


Helou and Rahim (2014) in The influence of social networking sites on students

academic performance in Malaysia, found that:

"Most of the students are engage[d] in the use of SNSs for socializing
activities rather than for academic purposes. However, most of the
respondents do feel that SNSs have a positive impact on their academic
performance, due to the fact that SNSs can be used for various academic
activities such as communicating with the faculty and university authorities,
communicating with lecturers and supervisors, discussing academic topics
with classmates and chatting with friends on topics of educational interest.
Meanwhile, the negative impacts of SNSs on their academic performance
are considerably low. Therefore, based on the positive preliminary findings
of this study, universities and other academic institutions could take
advantage of the popularity and positive impact of SNSs to formally
incorporate their use in the teaching and learning process." (p. 251).
On the other side of the scale, other studies have found that social media

negatively affects students grades. Thus, Boogart and Robert (2006) declared that use of

SNSs has detrimental impacts on academic performance of student users. Similar ly,

Banquil and Burce (2009) cited in Ahmed and Qazi (2011) found a continuing drop of

grades among student users of social networking sites, while Grabmeier (2009) observed

lower GPAs among students who log in any SNS. Some researchers have also looked at

specific social networking site, Facebook, and its impacts on students grades. Thus,

Karpinski (2009) found that Facebook usage is negatively correlated with collegiate

grade point averages (CGPAs) of its users. He observed that CGPAs range 3.5 - 4.0 for

non users but lesser for users i.e. 3.0 - 3.5. But the most interesting finding was that 79%

Facebook users denied having any adverse impact of this usage on their CGPAs. It means

they are not even aware of the fact that their networking habits are affe cting their

academic performance. The researcher also found that among various unique distractions

of every generation, Facebook has been proved as the major distraction of current
generation. Kirschner and Karpinski (2009) stated that Facebook users devo ted lesser

time to their studies than the non users did and subsequently had lower GPAs. In the

same vein, while Wilson (2009) proposed that university results are harmfully affected by

Facebook usage, Khan (2009) found that Facebook users had poor performance in exams.

Thuseethan and Kuhanesan (no date) in The influence of Facebook in academic

performance of Sri Lankan university students, concluded thus:

The study found the correlation between social media usage and academic
performance. Most of the heavy or frequent users received low grades,
compared to light users. We found similar results with lower grades. By
considering Test Cases there is a significant difference in Grade Point
Average between those considered to be heavy or frequent users of social
media and those considered to be light or occasional users. As we employ
more time on Facebook, a significant performance decrement should be
there. The results of our study indicate that time and the frequency of using
Facebook were predictors of academic performance. In addition, it could
predict the quality of life as well (sub-head v.).

In analysing the subject in the Philippines, Tamayo and Cruz (2014) studied the

relationship between social media and the academic performance of the students o f

Bachelor of Science in information technology at Centro Escolar University-Malolos,

Philippines. 138 respondents were sampled using a stratified random sampling. After

correlating students preliminary and mid-term average and the frequency of their use of

social media using Pearson (r), it was found that there is significant relationship between

social media and the academic performance of students of the university. It was thus

concluded:

"1. That more than 50% of the respondents performed below satisfactorily
at school. Students diversion from school activities to social media usage
largely affect their academic performance. 2. Based on the results of the
study, using social media has effect on students academic performance.
Students who participated in the study rarely participate on class activities,
perform well on [sic: in] class and attend class regularly." (p. 9).

In the context of the Nigerian university students, Enikuomehin (2011) in ICT,

CGPA: consequences of social networks in an internet driven learning society evaluated

the effect of the use of social networks on the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA)

of students of the Lagos State University, Nigeria. Using a survey method, the study

sampled 1, 860 students who provided information about their current and last CGPA as

well as the amount of time they spent social media. An adverse effect was found:

combining social media exploration with real studying leads to lower CGPA of student

users:

"It can be concluded that most of the students cannot get CGPA above 3.50
because they [are] often wasting their [time] on social networking sites. It
further shows that lower grades are some effects of social network since the
time spent could have been invested on home work and assignments which
all contribute to higher grade... Our study points to lower grade due to the
prevalence of less studying time and more Facebooking time: non-users had
GPAs between 2.5 and 4.0. A correlation between the time spent and the
GPA is directly deduced." (pp.13, 14).
An undergraduate project work by Anjugu (2013) Impact of social media on

students academic performance (a study of students of the University of Abuja), adopted

a survey method and sampled 150 students from four faculties in the University. On

administering questionnaires and analysing data elicited therefrom, it was found that:

majority of the students used 2go and Blackberry Messenger (BBM) chat very often than

any other social networking sites, spent within the range of 6 hours daily on social media,
browse more on entertainment than educational issues, and believe that social media has

negatively affected their academic performance though without specifying the exact

nature of the 'negative' effect whether in terms of time spent, distractions or grades.

Okereke and Oghenetega (2014) in "The impact of social media on the academic

performance of university students in Nigeria" analysed the subject in the context of

Nigerian universities. Purposively sampling 100 undergraduates drawn from Nnamdi

Azikiwe University, Delta State University, Madonna University, and Anambra State

University, the scholars adopted the causal-comparative research design. It was found

social media has negative effects on the academics of the students as the majority of the

students: use social media for non-academic purposes and perceive that social media use

leads to low academic performance.

These negative impacts of social networking sites on students grades have been

noted to be related to addictive use of SNSs. This appe ars to be the reason why

Englander, Terregrossa and Wang (2010) found that internet usage is negatively

associated with academic performance of student users which is in tandem with Nalwa

and Anand (2003) proposal that addicted internet users prefer using the internet to set

back their personal and professional responsibilities and this ultimately leads to poor

academic performance.

Still, another set of studies have found that the said positive or negative effects are

not automatic, but largely depends on the individual user and how well students can

manage their academic responsibilities despite making use of social media. Hence,
Ahmed and Qazi (2011) observed that: A student, who fulfills his study requirements

effectively, does not face any drop of grades that is why SNSs usage does not affect their

academic performance adversely. Kalra and Manani (2013) found that students are

managing their time efficiently and hence, use of Social Networking Sites does not harm

their academic performance. Findings suggested that despite of spending time on internet

or on using Social Networking Sites, and even with the personality differences students

are efficient enough for their studies that they do not face any deficiency in meeting thei r

studies requirements" (ibid). Jagero and Muriithi (2013) also pointed out that, An

interesting conclusion has been drawn on the basis of the findings of current study that

students were managing their time efficiently and hence, use of SNSs did not harm their

academic achievement however" (ibid). And, the hypothesis that the frequent use of

social networking sites by student of tertiary institutions in Mubi, Adamawa State,

Nigeria, has no effect on their studies was accepted at 5% level of significance by

Onyeka et al (2013).

2.5 Summary of the review

The foregoing review of concepts and studies have shown most evidently that

social media- as exemplified by social networking sites- have both negative and positive

effects on the academic performance of students and the said effect largely depend on the

general personality of the student-user, the intensity of usage, and how well a student can

balance social media use with academics. While the foregoing has been demonstrated by

research in various higher educational institutions across the world, and indeed in many

parts of Nigeria, there however appears to be no publicly-available research work that has
studied the subject within the context of the Rivers State University of Science and

Technology. This study therefore seeks to fill that scholarly void by examining the effect

of social media on the academic performance of students of the Rivers State University of

Science and Technology, Port Harcourt.


CHAPTER 3
RESEARCH METHODOLOG Y
Research methodology maps out the processes and procedures to adopt in a

research work (Nwankwo, 2006). This chapter therefore deals with the following

procedures to be employed in this study: study design, population of the study, area of

study, sample size and sampling techniques, description of data gathering instrument,

validity and reliability of data gathering instrument, and the method of data presentation

and analysis.

3.1 Study design

This study employed a causal comparative (or ex-post-facto) research design.

Nworgu (1991) states that the causal comparative study design is employed where the

researcher seeks to establish the cause and effect relationship between two variables of

interest without manipulating any of them. Here, the researcher merely tries to link some

already existing effect or observation to some variables as causative agents. It is causal

because a cause and effect relationship between two variables is sought to be established;

it is comparative because groups, differentiated in terms of an independent variable, are

compared on a given dependent variable.

The choice of causal comparative research design for the present study is justified

because the work proposes to examine the effects of social media on the academic

performance of university students in Nigeria. The work thus seeks to establish a cause

and effect relationship between social media (independent variable) and academic

performance (dependent variable) by comparing groups of students who use social

media and those who do not. The same study design was also used by Okereke and
Oghenetega (2014) in their study of the impact of social media on the academic

performance of university students in Nigeria.

3.2 Population of the study

The population of this study will be the entire students of the university which is

29,939 as sourced from the RSUST News Bulletin (2014, April). In research, states

Nworgu (1991), population refers to all members or elements of a well-defined group to

which the research findings are applicable. The author further held that one of the factors

that determine the choice of population is the problem under investigation: the population

should be such that it can provide the most authentic and dependable data necessary for

solving the problem. This is why Nwana (1982) cited in Nwankwo (2006) states that

population refers to all members of the target of the study as defined by the aims and

objectives of the study.

Having in mind that this study aims to determine the specific effects of the use of

social media on the academic performance of students of RSUST, therefore, the most

authentic and reliable data on the subject can only be obtained from students of the

university.

3.3 Sample and sampling techniques:

The sample of this study will be 400 students drawn from the 7 Faculties of the

University. Nworgu (1991) holds that a sample is a smaller group of elements drawn

through a definite procedure from a specified population. Generally, deciding on a

sample is not given to arbitrariness but by strict adherence to laid down principles
(Nwankwo, 2006). Therefore, the sample for this study will be determined using the

Taro Yamens formula for drawing sample (Nwankwo, 2006):


=
+ ()

Where:
n = sample size
N = population size (29, 939)
e = level of significance usually 0.05

29, 939
n=
1 + 29, 939(0.05) 2

29, 939
n=
1 + 29, 939(0.0025)

29, 939
n=
1 + 74.8475

29, 939
n=
75.8475

n = 394.73

However, given the fact that the formula only gives an estimate of sample,

Nwankwo (2006) recommends that the sample be higher than the estimates from the

formula. Thus, in addition to the 394 generated by the formula, the sample will be 400.

Sampling technique: A sampling technique is a plan specifying how elements will

be drawn from the population of the study which may be broadl y categorised into

probability and non-probability sampling techniques (Nworgu, 1991). The sampling

technique to be used for this study will be the accidental sampling technique.
3.4 Instrumentation

The instrument for the study will be a questionnaire - the Social Media and

Academic Performance Scale (SMAPS) developed by the researcher. The instrument

will made of structured questions. The questionnaire will comprise of two sections (A &

B): Section A will contain the general demographic information such as gender, age, and

department. Section B will contain psychographic information with questions on key

issues dealing with each of the research questions. The instrument will be responded to

on a scale of Yes, No, and Undecided.

3.5 Validity of the instrument

An instrument for data collection in research is said to have validity when that

instrument measures what it is supposed to measure (Nwankwo 2006). Nworgu (1991)

states that one of the standard procedures for validating instruments is giving it to a

panel of expert for validation. Thus, to ensure that the SMAPS has validity i.e it can

elicit the needed information, the researcher took the following steps:

Copies of the draft questionnaire and interview questions were given to a panel of

experts made of my supervisor and two other lecturers in the Department of Educational

Foundation to vet. To ensure the effectiveness of this exercise, the researcher provided

them with the project topic, statement of the problem, objective of the st udy and research

questions to determine whether the items on the instruments will be capable of eliciting

the needed information in terms of their clarity, appropriateness of language, as well as


the overall adequacy of the instruments. After vetting the i nstruments, the researcher

modified them along the lines suggested by the comments of the experts.

3.6 Reliability of the instrument

Reliability [of a data gathering instrument] refers to the degree of consistency

between two measures of the same thing. A reliable instrument is that which is consistent

in measuring a particular variable it is designed for (Nwankwo, 2006). Reliability of a

data gathering instrument aims at enhancing authenticity by ensuring researcher non-bias,

reduce the margin of error and broaden the limit of accuracy.

The reliability of the instruments will be determined using the pre -test and post-

test method. Copies of the instruments will be administered on 50 respondents with

request from the researcher that they respond honestly to the items. The result of the pre-

test was compared with the final test to measure the consistency of the instruments so as

to ensure that even if the test is repeated several times, the result will be the same.

3.7 Administration of the instrument

After ensuring the validation of the instrument which includes ensuring the

validity of the instrument, establishing its reliability and trial testing it (Nwankwo, 2006,)

the instrument will be personally administered on the respondents by the researcher.

3.8 Data analysis technique

Data will be presented in Tables and analysed quantitatively with the aid of simple

percentages.
CHAPTER 4

DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION

In a research work, data presentation and analysis deal with presenting the

information collected from respondents in a more organized and meaningful manner so

that the result of the research can be read at a glance (Nwankwo, 2006). Thus, this

chapter presents and analyses the result obtained from the data collected by means of the

questionnaires as well as answers to the research questions.

4.1 Data presentation

Research Question 1: What is the number of hours each day spent by students of
Rivers State University of Science and Technology on social media?

Table 4.1: Hours spent on SNS daily (in frequency and percentage)
Hours Frequency Percentage
1-3 hrs 92 23.29
4-6 hrs 200 50.63
7-10 hrs 53 13.41
Always 50 12.65
Total 395 100

Table 4.1 shows that the hours spent by students daily on social networking sites: 92

(23.29%) spend 1 to 3 hours daily, 200 (50.63%) spend 4 to 6 hours daily, 53 (13.41%)

spend 7 to 10 hours daily, while 50 respondents (12.65%) are always connected to social

networking sites throughout the day


Research question 2: Why do students of Rivers State University of Science and
Technology make use of social media?

Table 4.2: Purpose of use of SNSs (in frequencies and percentage).


Response Finding Messaging and Fun and Academic
friends profile update leisure studies
Yes 304 (76.96) 345 (87) 245 (62.5) 222 (56.2)
No 79 (20) 43 (10.88) 128 (32.40) 171 (43.3)
Undecided 12 (3.03) 7 (1.77) 20 (5.66) 2 (0.50)
Total 395 (100) 395 (100) 395 (100) 395 (100)
Response Watching Academic Dating Interacting
movies discussion with friends
Yes 198 (50.12) 205 (51.89) 207 (52.40) 362 (91.64)
No 178 (45.06) 184 (46.58) 183 (46.32) 31 (7.84)
Undecided 19 (4.81) 6 (1.51) 5 (1.26) 2 (0.50)
Total 395 (100) 395 (100) 395 (100) 395 (100)

Table 4.2 shows that 304 (76.96%) respondents agree that they use SNSs for finding

friends online, while 79 (20%) respondents do not use SNSs for such purpose and 12

(3.03%) respondents are undecided. Similarly, 345 (87.34%) respondents agree that they

use SNSs for messaging and profile update, while 43 (10.88%) students do not use SNSs

for such purpose and 7 students are undecided. 247 (62.53%) students agree that they use

SNSs for fun and leisure while 128 (32.40 %) students do not use SNSs for such purpose

and 20 (5%) respondents are undecided. 222 (56.20%) respondents agree that they use

SNSs for academic purposes, while 171 (43.29%) students do not use SNSs for such

purpose and 2 students are undecided. 198 (50.12%) respondents agree that they use

SNSs for watching movies, while 178 (45.06 %) students do not use SNSs for such

purpose and 19(4.81%) students are undecided. 205 (51.89%) respondents agree that they

use SNSs for academic discussion, while 184 (46.58 %) students do not use SNSs for
such purpose and 6 students are undecided. 183 (46.32%) respondents agree that they use

SNSs for dating, while 207 (52.40%) students do not use SNSs for such purpose and 5

students are undecided. 362 (91.64%) respondents agree that they use SNSs for

interaction with friends, while 31 (7.84%) respondents do not use SNSs for s uch purpose

and 2 (0.50%) respondents are undecided.

Research Question 3: What is the effect of social media on the cumulative grade
point average (CGPA) of students of Rivers State University of Science and
Technology?
Table 4.3: Effect of social media on CGPA (in frequencies and percentages)
Response Positive effect on Distracts students Displaces time
studies from studies on studies
Yes 8.8 (22.27) 325 (82.27) 205 (51.89)
No 289 (73.16) 57 (14.43) 171 (43.29)
Undecided 18 (4.55) 13 (3.29) 19 (4.81)
Total 395 (100) 395 (100) 395 (100)
Response Reduce time Distraction during Distraction
spent on SNS lectures during library
sessions
Yes 352 (89.11) 196 (49.62) 201 (50.88)
No 40 (10.12) 198 (50.12) 180 (45.56)
Undecided 3 (0.75) 1 (0.25) 14 (3.54)
Total 395 (100) 395 (100) 395 (100)
Responses SNSs improve SNS negatively Avoid SNSs
my grades affect my grade
Yes 178 (45.06) 249 (63.03) 364 (92.15)
No 203 (51.39) 81 (20.50) 28 (7.08)
Undecided 14 (3.54) 65 (16.45) 3 (0.75)
Total 395 (100) 395 (100) 395 (100)

CGPA of respondents
GPA Frequency Percentage
1.00-2.49 198 50.12
2.50-3.49 110 27.84
3.50- 4.49 52 13.16
4.50-5.00 35 8.86
Total 395 100

Table 4.3 shows that 88 (22.27%) respondents agree that SNSs have positive effect on

their academic studies, while 289 (73.16 %) students do not believe such and 18 (4.55%)

students are undecided. 325 (82.27%) respondents agree that SNSs distract them from

their academic studies, while 57 (14.43 %) students do not believe such and 13 students

are undecided. 205 (51.89 %) respondents agree that SNSs displace the time they spend

on their academic studies, while 171 (43.29%) students do not believe such and 19

(4.81%) students are undecided. 352 (89.11%) respondents agree that university students

must reduce time spent on SNSs to succeed in the university, while 40 (10.12%) students

do not believe such and 3 students are undecided. 196 (49.62%) respondents agree that

SNSs distract them from their lectures, while 198 (50.12 %) students do not believe such

and only 1student is undecided. 201 (50.88%) respondents agree that SNSs distract them

during library sessions, while 180 (45.56 %) students do not believe such and only 14

(3.54%) students are undecided. 178 (45.06%) respondents agree that SNSs help to

improve their grades, while 205 (51.39 %) students do not believe such and 14 (3.34%)

students are undecided. 249 (63.03%) respondents agree that SNSs negatively affect their

grades, while 81 (20.50%) students do not believe such and 65(16.45%) students are

undecided. 364 (92.15%) respondents agree that their younger ones must avoid SNSs to

succeed in the university, while 28 (7.08%) students do not believe such and 3(0.75%)

students are undecided. The Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of the
respondents thus: 198 (50.12%) of the students had 1.00-2.49; 110 (27.84%) students had

2.50-3.49; 52 (13.16%) students had 3.50-4.49; and 35(8.86%) students had 4.50-5.00

CGPA.

4.2 Discussion of findings

As reflected in Tables 4.1, it is evident that 92 (23.29%) student-respondents

spend 1 to 3 hours daily on SNSs, while 200 (50.63%) spend 4 to 6 hours daily, 53

(13.41%) spend 7 to 10 hours daily, while 50 respondents (12.65%) are always connected

to social networking sites throughout the day. The time spent did not significantly differ

when it comes to the gender of the students: both males and females spent

disproportionate hours online daily. But, as the age of the students increased (i.e. as a

student gets older) time spent decreased which agrees with Tham (2011).

The result of the study generally agrees with Rosen (2009) cited in Kirschner and

Karpinski (2009) Lin et al (2010), Ahamed and Qazi (2011), Jagero and Muriithi (2013),

Onyekaet al (2013),Anjugu (2013), and Akubugwo and Burke (2013) who have found in

studies carried out in different parts of the world (Nigeria inclusive) that students spend

from 1 to 6 hours daily on SNSs. That majority of the respondents in the present study

spend not less than 6 hours daily on SNSs not only points to the fact that students derive

immense gratification and satisfaction from SNSs, but also the possible displacement

effects of the social media on students academics.

When it comes to why students of the University make use of social media, Table

4.2 shows that majority of the RSUST student-respondents use social media (SNSs) for
various reasons ranging from entertainment and communication to so cialisation and

education. Thus, most of the respondents used SNSs as for: finding friends online,

interacting with online friends , messaging and profile update, fun and leisure, academic

studies, watching online movies, academic discussion and dating .

These findings confirm Katz, Blumler, and Gurevitchs Uses and Gratification

Theory in that majority of the student-respondents make use of social media sites because

of the gratification/satisfaction/benefits they derive from their use as seen in Table 4 .5

where many students are connected to Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, 2go, Badoo and

Blackberry Messenger- SNSs that offer various satisfying services to users. The result of

the study also agree with previous studies by Joinson (2008), Kimberly et al (2009),

Santos et al (2009) Mehmood and Taswir (2013), Onyeka et al (2013), and Helou and

Ab.rahim (2014), who found that students make use of social networking sites for

academic and non-academic reasons.

The result however disagrees with some of the findings in Ezeah et al (2013) and

Eke et al (2014) to the effect that South-East Nigerian students do not use SNSs for

academic purposes. The differences in the result could be a function of the disparity in

time, area of study, instrumentation, sample size and technique or the population of the

study.

Interestingly however, it was seen that as there was disparity in the purpose of use

of SNSs as the gender, age and faculty of the respondents changed. Thus, it was seen that

while more male students were inclined to use social media for information and
academics, the females were however tilted toward socialization and entertainment.

However, as the age of the respondents (both sexes) increased, there was more and more

interest in harnessing the informational values of SNSs for academic purposes. Similarly,

more students from the Faculties of Environmental Sciences, Management Sciences, Law

and Technical and Science Education stated that they used social media sites for

academics than their counterparts from Agriculture, Engineering, and Sciences.

In terms of the effect of social media on the cumulative grade point average

(CGPA) of the respondents, Table 4.3 showed that a majority of 73.16% of the

respondents believe that SNSs do not have positive effects on their ac ademic

performance. Similarly, 325 (82.89%) respondents believe that SNSs distracts them from

their studies and another set of majority of respondents believe that social media

displaces the time they spend on their academic studies: a confirmation of the time

displacement theory.

Expectedly, many students would advise avoiding the use of SNSs if they must do

well academically. A majority of the respondents believe that SNSs distract them from

their lectures, during library sessions and from their academics generally. In terms of

students grades, it is evident that majority of the RSUST students believe that SNSs

negatively affect their grades such that they not only believe that to improve their grades,

they need to reduce their use of SNSs, but also, that without SNSs, their grades will be

better than they are presently.


The foregoing result of the study agree principally with Bogart and Robert (2006),

Grabmeier (2009), Kirschner and Karpinski (2009), Tamayo and Cruz (2014),

Enikuomehin (2011), Anjugu (2013) and Okereke and Oghenetega (2014) where it has

been found consistently that the use of social networking sites negatively affects students

academics in various ways. The finding however disagrees with Paseket al (2006), Linda

et al (2006), Roblyeret al (2010), Onuoha and Shaeed (2011), Mehmood and Taswir

(2013), Moralo (2014) and Helou and Ab.Rahim (2014) which have found on the other

hand that SNSs improve students academic performance. The differences in the results

could have something to do with the individual user and the intensity of usage such that

despite using SNSs some students could still perform well academically as noted by

Ahmed and Qazi (2011), Kalra and Manani (2013), and Jagero and Muriithi (2013).

4.3 Summary of major findings

Findings from the study are summarized as follows:

1. Majority of RSUST students use SNSs for various reasons ranging from

entertainment and communication to socialization and education . Students have,

as it were, incorporated social media into their academic lives.

2. Male students used social media for information and academics while females

used SNSs for socialization and entertainment. But, as the age of the respondents

(both sexes) increased, they generally use SNSs for information and academic

purposes, than for socialization and entertainment. In the same vein, more students

from the Faculties of Environmental Sciences, Management Sciences, Law and


Technical and Science Education used social media sites for academics than their

counterparts from Agriculture, Engineering, and Sciences.

3. Majority of RSUST students spend not less than 6 hours on SNSs daily surfing the

websites and interacting with other users for academic and non-academic

purposes.

4. Most students of RSUST believe that the use of SNSs negatively affect t heir

academics in that SNSs reduce the time they spend on their studies, distract them

during lectures and library sessions as well as directly affect their cumulative

grade point average.


CHAPTER 5

SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

This chapter summarizes findings from the study, conclusions drawn from the

results and recommendations are made. The chapter also presents limitations of the study

and suggestions for further study.

5.1 Summary

The study investigated the effects of social media on the academic performance of

university students in Nigeria using the Rivers State University of Science and

Technology as a case study. The study, anchored on the time displacement theory and

uses and gratification theory, adopted a causal comparati ve research design to sample 400

students of the University from whom data was collected through a structured

questionnaire and analysed through simple percentages. The study found that:

1. RSUST students use SNSs for various reasons ranging from entertainment and

communication to socialization and education. Male students used social media

for information and academics while females used SNSs for socialization and

entertainment. But, as the age of the respondents (both sexes) increased, they

generally use SNSs for information and academic purposes, than for socialization

and entertainment. In the same vein, more students from the Faculties of

Environmental Sciences, Management Sciences, Law and Technical and Science

Education used social media sites for academics than their counterparts from

Agriculture, Engineering, and Sciences.


2. RSUST students like their counterparts across the world, spend not less than 6

hours on SNSs daily surfing the websites and interacting with other users for

academic and non-academic purposes.

3. Most students of RSUST believe that the use of SNSs negatively affect their

academics in that SNSs reduce the time they spend on their studies, distract them

during lectures and library sessions as well as directly affect their cumulative

grade point average.

5.2 Conclusion

1. Nigerian university students use social media for various reasons ranging from

entertainment and communication to socialization and education. This implies that

social media has become part and parcel of everyday life of Nigerian university

students who have, as it were, incorporated social media into their academic lives.

2. Male students use social media for information and academics while females used

SNSs for socialization and entertainment. But, as the age of the respondents ( both

sexes) increased, they generally use SNSs for information and academic purposes,

than for socialization and entertainment. In the same vein, more students from the

Faculties of Environmental Sciences, Management Sciences, Law and Technical

and Science Education used social media sites for academics than their

counterparts from Agriculture, Engineering, and Sciences.

3. Majority of RSUST students like their counterparts across the world, spend not

less than 6 hours on SNSs daily surfing the websites and interacting with other

users for academic and non-academic purposes. This is aggravated by the use of
smart phones that are connected to the internet and SNSs sits 24 hours a day. This

has the implication of making some students spend more time on SNSs than on

their academic activities.

4. Most students of Nigerian universities believe that the use of SNSs negatively

affect their academics in that SNSs reduce the time they spend on their studies,

distract them during lectures and library sessions as well as dire ctly affect their

cumulative grade point average. This has had some displacement effects on the

academic routines of some students, while others have been able to balance the use

of SNSs with the academics.

5.3 Recommendations

1. The authorities in tertiary institutions in Nigeria should enact rules and regulation

that will curtail or restrict students use of social networking sites during lectures

and library sessions.

2. Tertiary institutions should enlighten students on the positive and negative

effects of social networking sites as media of interaction on students academic

performance.

3. Students should endeavor to use social media for academic purposes. They can

like or share academic websites and follow academic Twitter handles.

4. Students should try to use more time in reading their books than social media

surfing, because of the negative effects.

5. Students should use wikis (a type of social media) like Wikipedia that promote

learning and academic research.


5.4 Limitations of the study

The time earmarked for the study was relatively short as the researcher had to

carry it out with tedious final year academic works. Also, the work was limited to the

analyses of the use of social media from the standpoint of the uses and gratification and

time displacement theories. The work was also limited to effect of social media on

academic performance, recognising that academic performance is a multi-dimensional

construct that involves many variables that include individual intelligence, home

environment, availability of study materials and so on.

5.5 Suggestions for further studies

This study on the effect of social media on the academic performance of students was

done within a short time, within 12 months. It is suggested that:

1. Further longitudinal studies that will follow students from their first year into

their final year in the university should be carried out to determine what effect

social media has had on the subjects academics as the years go by.

2. Subsequent research might be able to determine with certainty the effect of social

media on students academics by using the qualitative (and not quantitative) study

design via interview of subjects to be able to find out the effects of social media

on students academics.
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Appendices

Appendix A

Letter of Transmittance

Department of Educational Foundations,


Faculty of Tech. & Science Education,
Rivers State University of
Science and Technology,
P.M.B, 5080,
Port Harcourt.
July 30 th , 2015
Dear Respondent

REQUEST TO COMPLETE QUESTIONNAIRE ITEMS

I am a final year student of the above named Department and Faculty. I am

currently carrying out a research on the topic: Effects of social media on the academic

performance of university students in Nigeria: A study of the Rivers State

University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, as part of the requirement for

the award of a Bachelor of Science and Technical Education.

Kindly respond to, and complete the items of the attached questionnaire. I promise

to treat your responses anonymously and with highest confidentiality.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

EWA, CECILIA JABE

(Researcher)
Appendix B

Questionnaire

Social Media and Academic Performance Scale (SMAPS)

Instruction:

Please, tick the appropriate option in the box provided by each question.

SECTION A: Demographic information.

i. Sex:
Male Female

ii. Age:
15-25 yrs 26-35 yrs 36-45yrs 46-55 yrs 56yrs-above

iii. Faculty:
Agriculture Engineering Environmental Management Sciences Law Tec. &
Sciences Sciences Sci.
Education

iv. Department....................................................................
v. Level:
100 200 300 400 500
Section B: Psychographic Information

Faceboo Twitte Instagra Whatsapp 2go Badoo BBM YouTu Linkedi Others
k r m be n

1. Social media site(s) connected to:

2. Hours spent on social networking sites daily:

1-3 hours 4-6 hours 7-10 hours Always

3. Purpose of use of social networking sites:

Response
Item
Yes No Undecided
I use social networking sites for finding
friends online
I use social networking sites for
interacting with friends
I use social networking sites for private
messaging and updating profile
information
I use social networking sites for fun and
leisure
I use social networking sites for my
studies
I use social networking sites for
watching movies
I use social networking sites for
discussion about my course works
I use social networking sites for
dating
4. Social networking sites and academic performance:

Response
Item
Yes No Undecided
Social networking sites positively affects
me in my studies
Social networking sites distracts me from
my studies
Social networking takes over time I
would have spent on my studies
I would advice my younger relations to
avoid social networking sites if they must
succeed in the university
To succeed in the university I need to
reduce the time I spend on social
networking sites
Social networking sites distract me during
lectures
Social networking sites distract me during
library sessions
Social networking sites are distractions to
my academics generally

5. Your present Grade Point Average (GPA):


1.00-2.49 2.50-3.49 3.50- 4.49 4.50-5.00

6. Effect of social media on Grade Point Average (GPA):

Response
Item
Yes No Undecided
Social networking sites help to improve
my grades
The use of social networking sites
negatively affect my grades
To improve my grades, I need to reduce
my use of social networking sites
Without social networking sites my
grades will be better than they are now