Doctoral Degrees (Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST))


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 21
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    African academies of science as science advisers: The case of South Africa and Uganda
    (2022-12) Ngila, Dorothy Mutheu; Boshoff, Nelius; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Centre for Research and Technology (CREST)
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In recent decades, science advising – the process that makes scientific evidence available to policy makers to aid decision making – has gained prominence. The prominence has been accompanied by a greater understanding of the types of advisers, the type of advice, the structuring of science advisory ecosystems in national and trans-boundary contexts, the principles of science advising, as well as the challenges and perspectives at the science-policy interface. Although there is growing scholarly contribution on the nature of science advising globally, the literature in the context of Africa is scant. Academies of science – defined as associations of scientists who come together to advance scientific excellence and serve their nations – can be largely categorised using three archetypes: the learned society, the adviser to society, and the manager of research. Increasingly, most academies have incorporated science advice as one of their mandates. They form an integral part of the science advisory ecosystem and provide formal science advice. Scholarly contributions on the nature and structure of science advising by academies of science do exist, primarily in Western nations. However, science advising by academies of science in Africa, where there are approximately 31 national academies, has not been widely documented. This study investigated the role of African academies as science advisers, with the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and the Uganda National Academy of Sciences (UNAS) as institutional case studies. The study employed a qualitative embedded case study design with ASSAf and UNAS as the institutional case studies. Additionally, three embedded case studies that represented a type of science advisory mechanism by both academies, known as a consensus study, were selected to investigate the approaches of science advice and document pathways towards uptake. Documentary analysis and interviews were the main data collection methods. The study approached this investigation in four ways: (1) a discussion of the broader global context of academies of science, tracing the diverse types, roles, and structures of academies of science with a specific focus on what the study refers to as ‘parent academies’ (Royal Society of London, Academie des Sciences, the US National Academy of Sciences, and the Russian Academy of Sciences); (2) an analysis of ASSAf and UNAS as organisations and the external and internal factors that shape their institutional designs; (3) an analysis of two consensus studies that the academies had undertaken nationally and one consensus study where both had participated, all to understand the science advisory process and pathways towards uptake of science advice; and (4) a thematic interpretive discussion of the roles, institutional designs, and positioning of UNAS and ASSAf as science advisers within their national contexts. Six key themes emerged as findings from the study: (1) UNAS and ASSAf can be considered as ‘hidden’ organisations in the science advisory ecosystems of Uganda and South Africa; (2) both academies can be considered as agents to multiple principals; (3) both academies overstate the role of their Membership and Fellowship in their science advisory activities (in fact, there emerges other actors in executing these activities, together referred to as the ecosystem of human capabilities); (4) this ecosystem of human capabilities comes together to execute the process of science advising, which falls within the realm of formal science advising for academies of science, shaped by layered degrees of informality; (5) the consensus study process is a space for the ‘construction’ of various academy-stakeholder interactions that have the potential to be productive; and (6) a significant weakness in the internal organisation of dissemination, translation, and uptake activities at ASSAf and UNAS have impacted the potential for uptake of their consensus studies by decision makers. The study recommends the following for both ASSAf and UNAS: (1) guided by a deliberate stakeholder engagement strategy, they should invest in a concerted awareness raising, with a focus on target actors in the policy and scientific communities; (2) they should continue to harness the power and influence of the human capabilities’ ecosystem that enables science advising; (3) they should invest in review processes that further deepen the value of consensus studies; and (4) they should invest in deliberate dissemination, translation, and uptake activities to enhance the potential for uptake of advisory recommendations.
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    Wine scientists and winemakers as two communities: bridging the gap through boundary-spanning activities
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-12) O'Kennedy, Karien; Boshoff, Nelius; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST)
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: It is believed that investments in academic research and development have contributed to new world wine-producing countries entering the international wine markets, traditionally dominated by European countries such as France, Italy and Spain. This has increased the competition for “shelf space” in supermarkets and restaurants. Wine industries that want to maintain and grow sales need to innovate to remain competitive. South Africa exports approximately half of the wine it produces. The industry’s sustainability is strongly dependent on healthy domestic and export sales. Academic knowledge production and effective knowledge transfer assist practitioners with making informed decisions to avoid mistakes and innovate. The South African wine industry comprises an extensive knowledge network with many actors, including researchers, practitioners and intermediaries. An adequate knowledge creation and dissemination system must be maintained for the industry to be competitive internationally, especially against the country’s political past. This study investigated the knowledge-related interactions between oenology researchers from the Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University and South African winemakers. The role of intermediaries in the knowledge network was also explored. Researchers and practitioners have been described as two communities operating in different worlds, speaking different languages, and having different evaluation systems. For effective knowledge transfer, both communities need to be cognisant of each other’s worlds, and effective boundary-spanning activities must be in place. In this study, the world of academic researchers, in general, was demonstrated through a literature study that focused on knowledge production in the context of application and scientific communication. This was to sketch the background on which the empirical study of the Stellenbosch University oenology researchers was based. A documentary analysis of Stellenbosch University provided the background of the university’s population of oenology researchers (11 in total) who were subsequently interviewed. Results from the empirical study showed that most of the oenology researchers have received industry funding in the past or did so at the time of the interviews, either from Winetech (the South African wine industry research funding body) or international suppliers of oenological products. Most researchers described their research as containing excellence and relevance elements to satisfy academic evaluation systems and industry funders’ needs for applicability. Most researchers indicated their willingness to communicate with the industry; some do so more than others, despite specific individual and organisational constraints. The world of winemakers was sketched through a literature study component and an overview of the South African wine industry. This provided the background for the online survey of winemakers (124 responses) and the 20 winemaker interviews. The results indicated that winemakers use a variety of knowledge sources. They prefer social and experiential learning to factual learning. Their preferred knowledge sources are peers, suppliers of oenological products and services and the internet. Results also showed that the intermediary Winetech and oenological suppliers play crucial roles in creating awareness of new research and innovations. The study concludes by providing recommendations to the Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Winetech and South African winemakers on improving their boundary-spanning activities. The study contributes to the academic engagement and knowledge transfer literature mostly focused on academia. Studies jointly investigating academics, practitioners, and intermediaries are very scarce. Finally, the study also identified research needs for future studies.
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    The role of mentoring in the career outcomes of female early-career academics in Africa: a secondary analysis of multi-country data
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-12) Kalele, Phyllis Nzisa; Prozesky, Heidi; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Centre for Research on Evaluation Science and Technology (CREST)
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Even though previous research has documented the powerful potential of mentoring through the vast array of benefits that it offers, little is known about the relationship between mentoring and academic career outcomes. This study aimed at establishing the role of mentoring in the career outcomes of female early-career academics in Africa. Using a mixed-methods research approach, the study entailed a secondary analysis of survey data and interview data to determine whether female ECAs in Africa receive mentoring and its relationship with their career outcomes. Other study objectives were to describe female ECAs in Africa and determine the extent of the negative impact of various challenges on their careers. The study revealed that African female ECAs were on average 40 years old (but ranging from 27 to 68 years) and had two children or dependents aged from six to eighteen. They undertook the majority of care work and general housework in their family, relationship or household. The female ECAs were nationals of 25 African countries, and they also worked or resided in countries similar to those of their nationality, except for Lesotho. A large majority of female ECAs had never studied or worked outside their home country and they tended to collaborate with researchers at their own institution. The female ECAs were predominantly employed permanently, and a majority held the rank of senior lecturer, and only half of them had received research funding. In a typical year, they reported spending the highest percentage of working time on consultancy and the lowest percentage on raising research grants. On average, they produced 5,8 articles in peer- reviewed academic journals, 0,3 books, 1,1 book chapters, 3,3 conference-proceedings papers and 5,0 conference presentations. The highest percentage of female ECAs were social scientists, followed by natural and agricultural scientists, health scientists, and engineering and applied technologists. Finally, female ECAs perceived that balancing work and family demands, a lack of research funding, and a lack of mentoring were the challenges that had negatively impacted their careers the most. The study found that most female ECAs had received mentoring on attaining a position/job, research methodology, scientific writing, presentation of research results and in the form of introduction to research networks, while only a minority of them had received mentoring on career decisions and fundraising. It was further established that there is a statistically significant relationship between (1) receipt of mentoring in the form of introduction to research networks, on the one hand, and the production of articles in peer-reviewed journals, and frequency of some forms of collaboration, on the other; and between (2) receipt of mentoring in fundraising andStellenbosch University iii receipt of research funding. However, not all forms of mentoring were found to be related to their expected career outcomes. The contribution of this study is mainly empirical, as it offers novel insights into the link between, on the one hand, mentoring in research methodology, scientific writing, fundraising and in the form of introduction to research networks, and, on the other hand, career outcomes that ultimately influence career development.
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    Research production and research collaboration in Zimbabwe: A bibliometric study in context
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-03) Ngwenya, Similo; Boshoff, Nelius; CREST; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST)
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Several bibliometric studies on research production and research collaboration in Africa have been carried out. Most of the studies use mainstream bibliographic databases (Scopus and Web of Science [WoS]) as theirmain sourcesfor bibliometric analysis. Such studies rarely apply context explicitly in bibliometric analysis. In addition, the studies almost exclusively use data sets at article level, with articles as the unit of analysis. The studies also typically regard international research collaboration as the most important measure ofinternational research participation in the African research landscape, with little attention to additional measuresadapted to the African context. Finally, existing bibliometric studies on Africa rarely use data from other sources (e.g. surveys or interviews) to reflect on research collaboration. The main goal of this dissertation is to address these limitations within a study on research production andcollaborationin Zimbabwe. To achieve the study goal, aquantitative case study of research production and research collaboration in Zimbabwe was conducted. Two quantitative methods were used to illuminate the specific case: a bibliometric analysis and a web-basedsurvey. Data for the bibliometric analysis were obtained from three bibliographic databases: Scopus, WoS and the National Research Database of Zimbabwe (NRDZ). The NRDZ was added to reflect on the value of using a national research database as an additional bibliometric data source. Although bibliometricsis useful for profiling research collaboration in Zimbabwe, it cannot capture the full range of social dynamics experienced by researchers. Therefore, a web-basedsurvey was conducted to explore other aspects and experiences of research collaboration in order to provide more depth and context to the bibliometric analysis. A database of published researchers (obtained from the bibliometric database) and potentially research-active researchers(obtained from institutionalwebsites) was compiled and used to create a distribution list for the web-basedsurvey. Patterns of research production andresearch collaboration of Zimbabwean organisations in the different national sectors and fields, and within four socio-political periods (the context), were profiled. The study also converted an article database into a database of article authors. This enabled the identification of theZimbabwean research workforce. Not only have the research workforcebeen identified, but also the collaboration patterns of such researchers (article authors). The author level analysis made possible a comparison between the percentagesof articles with research collaboration and the percentages of article authors involved in research collaboration. A comparison of research workers in Zimbabwe (as bibliometrically identified) with external information about the number of researchers in Zimbabwe provided additionalinsights.The study’s results have the potential to enrich further bibliometric studies on research collaboration in Africa. It introduced the notionof ‘international national organisations’(INOs), which is a new way of measuring international participation in Africa's research. It has also developed a new classification framework of types of authorship that accommodates the phenomenon of INOs as a form of international research participation. This framework not only accommodates the phenomenon of INOs, but can also be used in other bibliometric studies on research collaboration to studyauthors with dual international affiliations. However, the study’s most important contribution is the integration of two mainstream bibliographic databases (Scopus and WoS) to create a new database of Zimbabwean articles, and its supplementation with articles from the NRDZ. Accordingly, recommendations with a view to both further study and research policywere made.
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    The uptake of wildlife research in Botswana: a study of productive interactions
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-03) Morrison, Monica Sue; Boshoff, Nelius; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST)
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study set out to identify and understand whether research carried out in or about Botswana has been focused on producing useful and used work in the area of wildlife and related natural resources, with a view to improving the management of these resources. The study investigated this by examining the interactions of researchers and stakeholders engaged in the management, conservation and use of wildlife resources in northern Botswana.This work draws on the idea that broader societal impact of research can be estimated by following interactions of researchers with potential users of their research throughout the research process.This approach, based on the idea of productive interactions, acknowledges the difficulty of attributing the uptake, use, and impacts of research findings, and moves the focus of investigation from outcomes at the end point of investigation to all the stages and processes of research. Interactions of researchers with potential users of the research -its stakeholders -increase the likelihood of research findings being put to use. In the thesis, this process is viewed through the concept of an extended community of practice that demonstrates mutual engagement, joint enterprise, and shared repertoire.The study used a mixed methods case study approach including literature review, surveys of principal investigators working under Government of Botswana permits and audience members of a public outreach event, interviews, analysis of document content and bibliographic records, and ad hoc participant observation to establish patterns of interaction among researchers and stakeholders working in northern Botswana, and to investigate perceptions of research use.The study found that the northern Botswana's research community of practice consists of a strong core of researchers based in academic institutions and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) who interact with more loosely connected members of the private sector and several levels of government, and with local community members. Findings included that researchers who engage with non-academic stakeholders outside the inner core of this community of practice at early stages, and throughout the research process, are more likely to see their research applied. Their success also appears to be linked to their commitment to working longer-term in northern Botswana, which allows for more, and deeper, interactions with stakeholders. Findings of this study point to validation of the concept of productive interactions in a local community of practice, with effects that extend beyond Botswana and southern Africa. While productive interactions are already taking place in this community, many of them brokered by NGOs, increased deliberate incorporation of the productive interactions approach into the practice of government managers, researchers, and the tourism private sector is likely to increase the relevance, awareness, and uptake of the resulting findings, and to build trust and understanding among research stakeholders. +