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Educational Research



List of Papers for Theme A:
Educational research: theories, principles and practices

(Click on the author's name to go to the abstract.)

Author(s) Paper
L. Lalendle A need for an educational research revolution in Southern Africa
M. Mohapi & N. Taole Information for enhancement of life: dissemination of research results in Lesotho
E. Nthunya Educational research: an information tool for decision-making
C. Shaimemanya &
C. D. Kasanda
Education research for better quality of life for girls in Namibia
M. J. Simelane Conducting descriptive research
S. C. Steyn New approaches to education programmes in the South African education system


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Author: Lumkile Lalendle, University of Venda

Title: A need for an educational research revolution in Southern Africa

Southern Africa has fallen prey to western developmental strategies that promote industrialisation at the expense of rural communities. Our rural communities are neglected by our governments and the education system. Graduates from our educational institutions are educated away from their Communities. This results in a brain and economic drain for rural communities.

Research is as one of the important functions of most tertiary institutions. It is incumbent upon these institutions to provide ways of addressing issue that have a bearing to quality of life in a scientific manner. It is my belief that the knowledge and skills imparted in some of tertiary institutions often neglects the problem of poverty. Attitudes of institutions towards social services will also be explored with a view to offer recommendations on appropriate means of addressing the current problems. A review of the patterns of Educational research in Southern Africa will be done.

In conclusion, suggestions on how tertiary institutions can contribute in moving rural communities quality of life from the margins to the centre stage of our research endeavours will be offered.

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Author: 'Mamokhosi Mohapi & Nthabiseng Taole

Title: Information for enhancement of life: dissemination of research results in Lesotho

Information has been described as one of the most valuable source of power. Individuals need information to solve their day-to-day problems. Managers need accurate and current information to make decisions about their organisations. People across the spectrum of society need the right information to address social, political and economic issues. Some of this information emanates from research studies which normally seek to identify causes of problems and also point possible solutions. A lot of research has been carried out in Lesotho, regionally and worldwide, with very valuable information being gathered. The question is, does this information get to the users and other relevant users who might benefit a great deal from such knowledge? Are the research findings well disseminated and making research efforts worthwhile by having an impact on people's lives?

In Lesotho, the following are assumed to be some of the barriers that hinder proper dissemination of research results:

Inadequate information sources and services;

lack of collaboration between researchers and relevant ministries; and,

little involvement and cooperation with users.

This paper will therefore examine how researched information is disseminated in Lesotho. The assumed barriers will be discussed and finally, suggestions will be made on how to improve this process thereby making research findings more productive.

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Author: Emma Nthunya, Institute of Education, National University of Lesotho

Title: Educational research: an information tool for decision-making

The paper will show relationship between education information and research. It will describe how research can be used as a tool for information provision for decision and policy-making. It will further examine the role research play in disseminating information that improves and strengthen the quality of life. The paper will focus on whether policy making processes address the quality of life positively, negatively or not at all.

Recommendation will be given on what should be done with research output in order to provide policy makers with the required information for the improvement and strengthening of the quality of life.

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Author: Mrs Cornelia Shaimemanya & C. D. Kasanda, University of Namibia

Title: Education research for better quality of life for girls in Namibia

Education is often regarded as the key to human development and better quality of life. Both male and female persons are expected to benefit from education and its offshoot of educational research.

Historically girls in Namibia have been disadvantaged both educationally and economically although they form the majority of the population. It is the realization of the important roles that females play in the economic and social development of Namibia that the government has emphasised the education of girls.

This paper is an attempt to find out whether both education and educational research have contributed to a higher quality of life for girls in Namibia and whether Government efforts are bearing fruit seven years after independence.

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Author: Dr. Malangeni J. Simelane, Department of Agricultural Education, University of Swaziland

Title: Conducting descriptive research

Looking back over the last seventy-five years of research related to education, one is tempted to draw the conclusion that research has had the least impact on education when it has been undertaken for the direct purpose of solving educational problems. One assumption to this is that the research has been done by people, far removed from where action is. It can also be concluded that most outstanding researchers still prefer to work within the ivory towers of academic institutions rather than in practical problem oriented establishments. One conclusion that can be drawn about the value of research to education is that great minds who conduct research on learning and related areas do have a real impact on education.

The purpose of this paper is to develop the research capacity of the Boleswa members of the Educational Research Associations. It has been observed by the other of the paper that it is difficult to take research away from academic institutions to where the problem is, the classrooms and to the students. The assumption being made here is that those who live with the problems are not empowered to deal with them. It should be noted though that empowering people with research skills does not mean providing a cook book for the teacher or the educational planner, but only providing a general guide for effective action.

This paper will lean more toward quantitative approaches and will specifically look into three types of research : descriptive research, correlational research and Ex Post facto research. All three are generally called "descriptive research" or non-experimental research.


Descriptive Research - simply describes an existing phenomenon by quantitatively or qualitatively characterising an individual or group. It assess the nature of existing conditions. The purpose of most descriptive research is limited to characterising something as it is, though some descriptive research suggests tentative causal relationships. There is no manipulation e.g. treatments or subjects; the researcher takes things as they are.

Correlational Research - is technically a form of descriptive research, but because of its heavy use in education it is summarized as a distinct type of research. It is concerned with assessing relationships between two or more phenomena. This type of study usually involves a statistical measure of the degree of relationship.

Ex Post facto Research - A lot of research investigates events that have already occurred and implies cause - and effect relationships from the results (Latin for after the fact). Ex Post facto research is used to study groups that are similar and have had the same experience except for one condition. The effect of the differing condition on some other variable can then be assessed. Thus, there are treatment and control groups, but the effect has already occurred as the researcher begins the study. Because there is no active manipulation of conditions nor is there random assignment of subjects to groups, causative conclusions that can be drawn from this type of research are tentative at best.

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Author: Mrs S. C. Steyn, Potchefstroom University for CHE

Title: New approaches to education programmes in the South African education system

In the White Paper on Education and Training (1995) the Minister of Education reiterates the central problem facing education in South Africa, namely, that "South Africa has never had a truly national system of education and training". The previous racially exclusive departments, provinces, homelands and self-governing territories have resulted in an excessive fragmentation of the South African education system into 19 different education departments. It is therefore clearly stated in the white Paper on Education and Training (1995) that this state of fragmentation necessitates new, coordinating structures and mechanisms. The education system structure in South Africa is changing to a single system which is largely organised and managed on the basis of nine provincial sub-systems.

In the South African context due to economic restraints, the lack of facilities, lack of qualified, competent practitioners and pressure from the business and international world, the trend is towards cooperation between Education and Training. A National Qualifications Framework (NQF) with an integrated approach to education and training has been developed to suit the needs of the target group. An educational approach known as outcomes-based education (OBE) is about to be introduced. This is linked to the NQF. The current system will change to an "outcomes based" approach. At the heart of this change is the introduction of a new curriculum - Curriculum 2005. Curriculum 2005 and the new National Qualifications Framework will be implemented in 1998.

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Last modified:  26-Apr-99