Students admitted to study law in Nigeria are exposed to academic engagements essential for their legal practice after call to bar. Despite the critical role this exposure plays in their legal education, studies have documented that they show poor engagements. This could defeat the basis behind legal education as students graduating from law school might not understand well the rudiments of legal practice. The study investigated the influence of Economic status, Ethnic background and information behaviour on the academic engagement of undergraduate law students in South-West, Nigeria as a way out.
Survey research design was adopted for the study. The population consisted of 7,303 undergraduate law students from accredited law faculties in South-West, Nigeria. Stratified sampling technique was used to categorise the Universities into federal, state and private. Random sampling technique was used to select six Universities, two from each category. Comrey and Lee’s rule was used to determine the sample size of 1,200 students. The respondents were drawn from 200 and 300 levels. A face and content validated questionnaire was used for data collection. Test-retest was used to estimate reliability of the instrument and reliability coefficients ranged from 0.81 to 0.89. Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential (linear and multiple regressions) statistics. The results revealed that there was a positive and significant influence of Economic status and Ethnic background on Academic engagement. There was also a positive and significant influence of Information behaviour on academic engagement. Information behaviour was shown to contribute more to academic engagement of students than economic status and ethnic background. The study concluded that economic status, ethnic background and information behaviour are critical to the academic engagement of undergraduate law students in South-West, Nigeria. The study recommended that law librarians participate fully in legal information skills training of undergraduate law students.
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