A review of methodological trends in South African sociology, 1990–2009

Basson, Isabel (2013-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The thesis investigates the research methods employed by South African sociological researchers, as published in academic peer-reviewed journals during the period 1990 to 2009. Specific attention was given to the trends in terms of qualitative and quantitative methodologies and related methods employed. Methodological pluralism, the viewpoint that a mature sociology should incorporate explanatory, predictive and humanistic methods, has been the focus of various authors internationally and locally. A concern that has been reiterated in the literature is that an over-emphasis on one methodology or one type of method is unhealthy for the development of the social sciences in a country. No recent review of the methods and methodologies employed in sociology in South Africa has been conducted, and with no clear view of the recent and current situation, no strategy can be formulated to address this potential concern. This thesis aims to address this issue by describing the situation in South Africa from 1990 to 2009. The empirical research presented in this thesis employed a content analysis design and quantitative methodology. Data were obtained from a sample of research articles collected from various online databases. Probability sampling was conducted, by making use of the method of stratified systematic sampling with a random start. Data analysis was both cross-sectional and longitudinal, and made use primarily of descriptive statistics, but bivariate analysis and chi-square tests were also employed. Various aspects of the research reported in the articles were analysed, which included methodology, research design, sampling methods, data collection methods, data analysis methods and author collaboration. The main findings of the thesis are that, during the past two decades both quantitative and qualitative methodologies have been employed to an equal extent, but that the use of non-probability sampling methods was higher than anticipated. Both local and international collaboration has increased over the past 20 years, and a quantitative methodology was significantly more likely if international collaborators were involved in the research. The thesis concludes that research methods in general, and sampling methods in particular, are poorly reported in published sociological research.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die tesis ondersoek die navorsingsmetodes wat deur Suid Afrikaanse outeurs gebruik is tydens die tydperk 1990 tot 2009 wanneer hulle sosiologiese artikels in akademiese, eweknie-beoordeelde vaktydskrifte gepubliseer het. Aandag is spesifiek verleen aan metodologiese tendense in terme van kwalitatiewe en kwantitatiewe metodologie en gepaardgaande metodes. Verskeie internationale en plaaslike outeurs fokus op metodologiese pluralisme: die standpunt dat ʼn gesonde sosiologie ondersoekende, voorspellende en humanistiese metodes moet gebruik. Die besorgdheid wat herhaaldelik voorkom in die literatuur is dat ʼn oorbeklemtoning op net een metodologie en dié se verwante metodes ongesond is vir die ontwikkeling van die sosiale wetenskappe in ʼn land. Daar is geen onlangse oorsig van die metodes en metodologieë wat in die sosiologie in Suid Afrika gebruik word nie, en sonder hierdie inligting kan daar nie ʼn strategie ontwerp word om die potensiële besorgdheid aan te spreek nie. Hierdie tesis het ten doel om hierdie kwessie aan te spreek deur die situasie in Suid Afrika vanaf 1990 tot 2009 te beskryf. Die empiriese navorsing in die tesis wend ʼn inhouds-analise navorsingontwerp en ʼn kwantitatiewe metodologie aan. Data is ingesamel deur gebruik te maak van ʼn steekproef van navorsings-artikels wat versamel is vanaf verskeie aanlyndatabasisse. ʼn Waarskynlikheidsteekproef is getrek deur gebruik te maak van gestratifiseerde sistematiese steekproefneming met ʼn lukrake beginpunt. Data-ontleding was beide kruissnydend en longitudinaal, en het hoofsaaklik vanbeskrywende statistiek gebruik gemaak, maar tweeveranderlike ontleding en chi-kwadraat toetse is ook aangewend. Verskeie aspekte van die navorsing wat in die artikels geraporteer word, is ontleed, insluitend: metodologie, navorsingsontwerp, streekproefmetodes, data-insamelingsmetodes, en outeursamewerking. Die hoofbevindinge van die tesis was dat beide kwantitatiewe en kwalitatiewe metodologieë in ’n gelyke mate aangewend word, maar dat nie-ewekansige steekproefmetodes meer gebruik word as wat te verwagte is. Samewerking, beide tussen plaaslike outeurs asook tussen plaaslike en internasionale outeurs, het oor die afgelope 20 jaar toegeneem, en ‘n kwantitatiewe metodologie was beduiend meer waarskynlik as internasionale medewerkers in die navorsing betrokke was. Die tesis kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat navorsingsmetodes oor die algemeen, en steekproefmetodes in besonder, swak gerapporteer word in gepubliseerde sosiologiese navorsing.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85807
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