A framework for the evaluation of research in South African Higher Education Institutions : conceptual and methodological issues

Masipa, Mochaki Deborah (Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2011-03)

Thesis (PhD (Social Science Research Methodology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study aimed at establishing whether or not an integrated and appropriate system exists for the evaluation of research in the South African higher education system. As background to the assessment of research in South African higher education, models of research evaluation from other countries were reviewed and served as reference to the discussions on the local efforts. In each case the higher education research systems were reviewed, including existing efforts of research evaluation that exits alongside the systems. The review followed a pattern that focuses on areas including the history and rationale, purpose (s) for research evaluation, political/transformation contributions and methodological issues for a clearer understanding of the contributions made by the efforts. The study followed a multiple-case study approach to review the models and the South African situation, with the local research evaluation efforts embedded within the study of South Africa as a case. Five themes guided the reviews that were apparent for the final discussions of the study: the rationale and purpose of research evaluation, units of analysis used in the evaluation, dimensions/criteria used in research evaluation, governance and management of research evaluation processes and methodological issues related to research evaluation. The study revealed that none of the fragmented South African research evaluation efforts is suitable to deal with the transformation requirements expected of higher education institutions. This is mainly because of the voluntary nature of the current initiatives and their focus on the lowest level of units of analysis – the individual researcher. The one effort that would be better suited to meet the transformation imperatives – the HEQC institutional audits - does not concentrate on research exclusively but collectively addresses all core activities in institutions, reducing the attention necessary for research evaluation to make a meaningful contribution to higher education research. The study suggested a comprehensive design for the framework of South African research evaluation. The purpose identified for the envisaged exercise is the development and improvement of quality research of international standards across the system of higher education in order for research to make meaningful contributions to national demands. Programmes/departments in the higher education institutions are suggested as the units of analysis in which quality, productivity, relevance and viability serve as criteria for evaluation.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie poog om vas te stel of 'n geïntegreerde en toepaslike stelsel bestaan vir die evaluering van navorsing in die Suid-Afrikaanse hoër onderwys stelsel. As agtergrond tot die beoordeling van navorsing in Suid-Afrikaanse hoër onderwys, word ‘n oorsig verskaf van die modelle van navorsing evaluering van ander lande. Dit het gedien as verwysing vir die besprekings oor die plaaslike pogings. In elke geval is ‘n oorsig gebied van die hoër onderwys navorsingstelsels , insluitend die bestaande pogings tot navorsing evaluering. Die oorsigte fokus op gebiede soos die geskiedenis en die rasionaal, doel van navorsing evaluering, politiese / transformasie bydraes en metodologiese vraagstukke vir' n beter begrip van die bydraes wat gemaak word deur die pogings. Die studie volg 'n meervoudige gevallestudie benadering tot die modelle en die Suid-Afrikaanse situasie, met die plaaslike navorsing evaluering pogings onderliggend in die Suid-Afrikaanse gevallestudie. Die oorsigte word gelei deur vyf temas: die rasionaal en doel van die navorsing evaluering, eenhede van analise wat gebruik word in die evaluering, dimensies / kriteria wat gebruik word in navorsing evaluering, beheer en bestuur van navorsing, en metodologiese evalueringsprosesse kwessies met betrekking tot navorsing evaluering. Hierdie temas is duidelik in die finale bespreking van die studie. Die studie het aangetoon dat nie een van die gefragmenteerde Suid-Afrikaanse navorsing evaluering pogings geskik is om die transformasie verwagtinge van hoër onderwys instellings te hanteer nie. Dit is hoofsaaklik as gevolg van die vrywillige aard van die huidige inisiatiewe en hul fokus op die laagste vlak van die eenhede van analise - die individuele navorser. Die een poging wat beter geskik sou wees die transformasiedoelwitte te ontmoet - die HEQC institusionele oudits - konsentreer nie uitsluitlik op navorsing nie, maar spreek gesamentlik alle kern aktiwiteite in instellings aan. Dit verminder die aandag wat nodig is vir navorsing evaluering om 'n betekenisvolle bydrae te lewer tot hoër onderwys navorsing . Die studie stel 'n omvattende ontwerp voor vir die raamwerk van Suid-Afrikaanse navorsing evaluering. Die doel wat vir die beoogde oefening geïdentifiseer word, is die ontwikkeling en verbetering van die kwaliteit navorsing van internasionale standaarde oor die stelsel van hoër onderwys sodat die navorsing betekenisvolle bydraes kan lewer tot die nasionale vereistes. Programme / departemente in die hoër onderwys instellings word voorgestel as die eenhede van analise waarin gehalte, produktiwiteit, relevansie en lewensvatbaarheid dien as kriteria vir evaluering.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6812
This item appears in the following collections: