Towards Sustainable Computer-assisted Legal Research in Nigerian Law Faculties: Exploring the Nexus between User Education, Intrinsic Motivation and Use of Electronic Law Databases

AuthorAnuoluwa Maria Ajala
DOI10.1177/2322005819840111
Published date01 January 2019
Date01 January 2019
Subject MatterArticles
Article
Towards Sustainable Computer-
assisted Legal Research in Nigerian
Law Faculties: Exploring the Nexus
between User Education, Intrinsic
Motivation and Use of Electronic
Law Databases
Anuoluwa Maria Ajala1
Abstract
Despite the inclusion of legal research in academic curriculum of law programmes in universities, some
factors are still capable of militating against the acquisition of legal research skills by law students. Every
law faculty in Nigeria teaches legal research skills to their students, but there are still signs of poor
legal research skills by law graduates in Nigeria, which is reflected in their inability to find the legal
information that is relevant in the practice of the legal profession. It is argued that computer-assisted
legal research entails a process in which electronic law information resources are indispensable. One
of the electronic law information resources is the electronic law database. The use of electronic law
databases is indeed crucial to legal research. However, lack of user education may lead to lack of
intrinsic motivation to use electronic databases. In Nigerian law faculties, a lot of funds are invested in
provision of electronic information resources in order to promote legal research among law students.
However, the relationship between user education and use of electronic law databases may or may not
justify the funds invested. This article explicates the place of computer-assisted legal research in law
faculties and reveals that there is a need for law students to be intrinsically motivated to use electronic
law databases. This article also exhibits additional measures that Nigerian law faculties can take in order
to motivate law students to use the electronic law databases.
Introduction
The information age has led to the prevalence in the use of digital technology in virtually every aspect of
life including academic legal research. Computer-assisted legal research (CALR) exposes law students
to skills that can help them find, understand and apply the law through computer-based programmes.
Law faculties recognize the importance of CALR to law students, and this has led to the provision of
Asian Journal of Legal Education
6(1–2) 57–66, 2019
© 2019 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
Reprints and permissions:
in.sagepub.com/journals-permissions-india
DOI: 10.1177/2322005819840111
journals.sagepub.com/home/ale
Corresponding author:
Anuoluwa Maria Ajala, Lead City University, Ibadan, Nigeria.
E-mail: anuoluwaajala@gmail.com
1 Lead City University, Ibadan, Nigeria.

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