Researching sensitive issues in education in the Limpopo Province of South Africa

Kutame, Azwidohwi Philip (2004-04)

Thesis (DPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2004

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Researchers in Social Sciences have generally encountered problems in ensuring data quality when dealing with topics that are regarded as sensitive. This thesis reports on an investigation into the methodology used for research projects around sensitive issues in education in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Data consists of twelve interviews with individual principals (each interview schedule containing semi-structured question items from ten categories) and a thirty-three item self-report questionnaire survey administered to one hundred and fifty principals drawn from two hundred and seventy two secondary schools over the course of an academic year (2002) and conducted in the Limpopo Province of South Africa .. Results reveal nine major categories of sensitive issues in school management on which principals have difficulty in providing information to researchers: school policy, school financial issues, moral or social relations issues, learner and educator disciplinary issues, working conditions, absenteeism, developmental appraisal, educator unions, and religious matters policy issues. Principals have also reported on the various reasons why they regard each of the aspects as sensitive, thereby making it difficult for them to provide information around. Of these, moral issues were considered the most sensitive. The major reasons given were: confidentiality, intrusion of privacy, fear oflegal sanction, threat to work and violation of the rights of the individual. Analysis of the different sensitive issues also show that certain biographical characteristics - age of the principal and years of experience as principal - are significant mediators in principals' perceptions of sensitive issues in school management. That is to say, these contribute to principals' assessment of their emotional, physical and psychological well-being. Sensitivity is a problem when collecting data for research purposes. It warrants the attention of all those involved in social science research. The findings in this study point to the issues in school management that are highly sensitive to provide information suggesting that data collected would therefore not be of a high quality.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Menige navorsers in sosiale wetenskappe het oor die algemeen probleme teëgekom met die versekering van data kwaliteit in sensitiewe onderwerpe. Hierdie tesis raporteer oor 'n ondersoeke in die metodologie gebruik vir navorsing projekte rondom sensitiewe onderwerpe in onderwys in die Limpopo Provinsie in Suid-Afrika. Data bestaan uit twaalf onderhoude met individuele prinsipale (elke onderhoud se skedule bevat se gestruktureerde items van tien katagorieë) en 'n drie-en-dertig item (self-report) vraelys wat onder 150 prinsipale uitgedeel is, waarvan 272 sekondêre skole oor 'n tydperk van 'n akademiese jaar (2002) gebruik was in die Limpopo Provinsie van Suid Afrika. Die resultate toon nege hoof onderwerpe in skoolbestuur waar prinsipale dit moeilik vind om informasie aan navorsers te verskaf: skoolbeleid, finansiële onderwerpe, moraliteite of sosiale verhoudinge, leerder en onderwyser dissiplinêre onderwerpe, werkverhoudinge, afwesigheid, personeelontwikkeling, onderwysunies, en godsdienstige sake. Prinsipale raporteer om verskeie redes waarom hulle elk van die aspekte as sensitief beskou. Onder hierdie is morele sake as die sensitiefste geklasifiseer. Die hoofredes hiervoor is gegee as vertroulikheid, inbreuk van privaatheid, vrees vir wettige sanksies, dreigemente in die werk en skending van die regte van die indiwidueel. Analiese van die verskillende sensitiewe sake toon aan dat verskeie biografiese eienskappe - ouderdom van die prinsipaal - is oorsake in die prinsipaal se persepties in die prinsipaal se sake onder die skool se bestuur. Dit se met ander woorde bogenoemde dra by tot die prinsipaal se emosionele en fisiese geestelike toestand. Sensitifiteit is 'n probleem wanneer data vir navorsing doeleindes verkry word. Dit regverdig die aandag van die mense betrokke in sosiale wetenskap navorsing. Die bevinding in hierdie studie verwys na sake in skoolbestuur wat hoogssensitief is om informasie te voorsien, en stel voor dat die data verkry is nie van hoë standard is nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50080
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