Doctoral Degrees (Centre for Science and Technology Mass Communication (CENSCOM))


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    Social Science Research for Policy Utilisation in Zambia
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-03) Moyo, Felicitas N.; Mouton, Johann; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Centre for Science and Technology Mass Communication.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The goal of the study was to explore and understand whether any social science research that has been produced by academic staff at the University of Zambia has been utilised by policy makers and to obtain information about research funding, the types of research and purpose for conducting such research, the dissemination strategies used by researchers, the stakeholders considered by researchers during the conceptualisation stage of their research, the extent of collaboration with stakeholders, and the factors that could have possibly enhanced or inhibited the utilisation of social science research in Zambia. The study used mixed method sequential explanatory design comprising bibliometrics analysis of Zambia’s articles in the Web of Science database, a questionnaire which was initially administered through the web (web survey) and later through the distribution of hard copies and face-to-face interviews. The study established that most respondents indicated that the utilisation of social science research findings was minimal and that the major barrier in Zambia is a lack of research funding from the Zambian government. The study also established that a lack of research funding was a major factor that hindered the visibility and accessibility of research outputs at local and international level. Although various scholars established local journals meant to enhance research publications among social science researchers at the University of Zambia, most researchers in the social sciences disseminate their research findings through local academic print journals, and this negatively affects the utilisation of research from the institution by policymakers. The findings further suggest that another factor that hinders research utilisation was that researchers focus on publishing their research findings, which is not a good measure of influencing policy as the majority of policymakers may either not have access to these findings or do not have time to read through long documents. The study has also shown that there is limited political will from the government to use research findings from researchers in their decision-making processes. Government ministries have employed a number of political cadres who do not acknowledge substantiated research, and are not knowledgeable about the types of interventions to curb a particular social problem. The results in this study also suggest that there is no or very little engagement between the researchers and the policymakers and that this makes it difficult to work together and find common ground to make research a driver of development. Furthermore, the findings also suggest that Zambia lacks national guidelines which could be used to drive research agendas that would bring equity between the funders and the researchers in terms of sharing roles and how research outcomes should be treated. Without research funding, research agendas continue to be driven by (international) funding agencies. In view of the above findings, the study recommends that the government needs to show a keen interest in funding research, especially at public universities funded by the government. The study further recommends that the link between researchers and policymakers should be strengthened where it exists, so that the researchers and the policymakers can acknowledge the importance of research in national development and the gaps that exist in underplaying the utilisation of research findings. Lastly, the study recommends that researchers should conduct meaningful research that has potential policy impact and make deliberate efforts to send policy briefs to policymakers through the ministries, and encourage them to use them for the betterment of the country.