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

Basson, Isabel ; Prozesky, Heidi Eileen (2015-11-26)

CITATION: Basson, I. & Prozesky, H. E. 2015. A review of methodological trends in South African sociology, 1990–2009. South African Review of Sociology, 46(3):4-27, doi:10.1080/21528586.2015.1022595.

The original publication is available at http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rssr20


This article reviews the research methods and methodologies employed by South African sociological researchers when conducting research, as published in academic peer-reviewed journals during the period of 1990 to 2009. Specific attention was given to trends in terms of qualitative and quantitative methodologies employed, as well as sampling, data collection and data analysis methods utilised. The article addresses, among others, the concern expressed in the literature that an over-emphasis on one approach is unhealthy for the development of the social sciences in a country; and it explores whether such an over-emphasis occurred. Data were obtained from a stratified, systematic sample of 111 research articles sourced from various online databases, and both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses were conducted. Data analysis primarily involved the use of descriptive statistics, but bivariate analysis and chi-square tests were also employed. The main findings of the research are that, from 1990 to 2009, both quantitative and qualitative methodologies were employed to an equal extent, while among sampling methods non-probability methods predominated. Both local and international collaboration increased over the years, and a quantitative methodology was significantly more likely when international collaborators were involved.

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