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Failure of research in Nigeria

For a detailed discourse of this topic, it is essential to define the term “research”.  Research as a key concept has been defined in several…

For a detailed discourse of this topic, it is essential to define the term “research”.  Research as a key concept has been defined in several ways by different scholars.  However, in the context of this piece of writing, research is a systematic investigation and study conducted with the aim to discover new knowledge, insights, or find answer or solution to specific questions and problems.  It is expected that research should explore, identify, discover or find solutions to identified problems. This involves gathering and analyzing information, data, and evidence to draw conclusions in order to contribute to existing knowledge in a particular field or specialization. Various methods and tools are used by researchers to deplore and understand a subject which is aimed to expand understanding, and make meaningful contribution to their respective disciplines.  Ultimately, research has huge socio-cultural, socio-economic, political, religious and scientific benefits to any nation, group or individuals committed to invest in it. Interestingly too, research is not without some hurdles.

Just like every other worthwhile endeavour, research has its own share of failures and harsh realities. In other words, there are ideals and realities when it comes to investing in and harnessing the outputs of research globally, and particularly in Nigeria. Arguably, the drawbacks differ from country to country as well as from group to group, and of course from company to company.

However, in any of the cases, the failures being encountered in the course of research seem to have some common characteristics such as funding, time constraints, data accessibility, and other resources needed for effective research.  There is also the issue of ethical consideration, plagiarism for example, complexity of subject matter, and the rigours of peer review and publication processes, reproducibility, ‘multidisciplinaryness’, and reliability.  Others include collaboration, the challenge of paradigm shifts in methodologies, adoption of digital technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI), balancing work life with family demands, networking among others.  Notwithstanding these brick walls, researchers are becoming daily undaunted in their resolve to contribute to make the world a better place for all through research.

Globally, particularly in Africa vis-à-vis Nigeria, providing and or securing sufficient or adequate funding for research projects have always posed a significant hurdle to successful research, especially mezzo and macro research developments.  Undertaking research varies in size and duration. Some research projects take humungous amount of money and time to execute. Financial resources required could run into millions and billions of naira or dollars to carry them out effectively. This has always been an uphill task for individuals, groups, companies as well as governmental and nongovernmental organizations to embark on research.  Conducting valuable efficient research requires considerable amount of time and the patience and persistence of the researchers to achieve, as research is usually bound by strict deadlines and much pressure on the researchers to delivery within the mandate.

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Another hurdle in the voyage of research is access to data and other resources.  Availability of relevant data, materials or specialized equipment contribute immensely to any successful research. Therefore, limited access to such materials and equipment can be a very hard nut to crack. Conversely, limited or lack of the equipment adversely affect, not only the process, but also the result of research.  Similarly, ethical consideration impedes the success of research. Research is usually done in line with ethical guidelines and principles. Strict adherence to the ethics of research, ensuring a social well-being and the basic rights of participants and avoiding potential hassles, is usually a tremendous task for researchers.

In addition, the complexity of the subject matter poses a stumbling block for successful research. Some research topics or areas are inherently multifarious. This makes it tasking to gather accurate data, and draw definitive conclusions. Peer reviewing and publishing research output and report are other uphill tasks which also cost a lot of money to carry out.  Getting research papers published in high impact journals requires rigorous processes that are both financial and energy draining.

Furthermore, ensuring that research findings are credible and can be replicated is crucial for the credibility of any study. Therefore, reproducibility and reliability of research becomes a critical aspect of research that creates mind-blowing hassles for researchers. Interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers is also an uphill task. Often, research requires collaboration between and among experts from different fields; this can be challenging due to distance, communication and coordination issues.  Also, with the evolving digital technologies and research methodologies, researchers are expected to adapt to new technologies and methodologies which usually require further training as well as expertise. Also, balancing family and work life may lead to burnout stress.

It has been established that research endeavour in Nigeria can be exciting, challenging, and rewarding when properly done. In order to obtain a research output that contributes to valuable insights and advancements in different fields of expertise, addressing the challenges requires persistence, adaptability and a systematic approach to research.

The failure of research in Nigeria could stem from various factors such as limited funding, lack of proper infrastructure, inadequate access to quality education, brain drain, and bureaucratic challenges.  These issues can hinder the development and implementation of effective research initiative in the country. Insufficient funding for research projects can hamper progress and limit the resources available for conducting studies. Inadequate research facilities, laboratories, and equipment can hinder the ability to conduct high-quality research. A lack of access to quality education and training in research methodologies can limit the pool of skilled researchers. Talented researchers often leave Nigeria for better opportunities abroad, leading to loss of intellectual capital and expertise.  Bureaucracy is another factor that limits the success of research in Nigeria; lengthy administrative process and bureaucratic hurdles can delay research initiatives and discourage researchers. Political instability causes failure of research in Nigeria.  Unstable political situation disrupts research activities which also makes it difficult to obtain funding and supports.

Lack of incentives and limited access to cutting edge technology are also responsible for failure of research in Nigeria. The quality of research process and output is greatly hindered as a result of insufficient recognition, rewards, and incentives for researchers and can largely discourage individuals from pursuing research careers. Lack of or limited access to cutting edge technology negatively affects the quality and relevance of research conducted.

Multifaceted approaches involving government support, increased funding, improved education and training, streamlined administrative processes, and efforts to retain local research talent are required to address the challenges or causes of research failure in Nigeria.

Prof. Melchizedek Onobe and Ruth Barnabas wrote from the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, Bingham University

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