Challenges Faced by Higher Education Institutions in Research Skills Development: A South African Open and Distance Learning Case Study

Patrick Nkhangweleni Mafenya


While there is a huge literature on research in higher education on various topics of interest, there is scant literature on the challenges facing research skills development for our students in South Africa. This study used Nonaka’s (1994) organizational knowledge creation theoretical framework. This theoretical framework was regarded as the most suitable for this study because of its ability to respond to the research question and the objectives. Data for this study were collected from (1) a dual mode conventional face-to-face institution and (2) a single mode distance education university during the 2012-2013 academic years. This study was conducted from a phenomenological research perspective because the intention was to search for variation in ways of understanding a phenomenon amongst a sample group that was selected for maximum variation. The primary research question that underpinned this study was: What challenges are faced by the South African higher education institutions in research skills development? Provided the focus for the study. The study revealed that financial resources, lack of institutional collaboration, low postgraduate enrolments and disconnection between teaching and research were some of the challenges faced by higher education institutions in research skills development in South Africa. This study therefore, wants to investigate the reasons behind South African higher education institutions’ failure to have enough researchers to train students to become researchers.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n4p436

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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