Sports-related research trends at South African universities

  • C Burnett
Keywords: Universities, research, innovation, African paradigm, academic disciplines.


Universities are globally and locally recognised for their research production being innovative, essential for producing a scientific body of knowledge and in answer to national, as well as local discourses. In the latter case, it is research within an applied and participatory action paradigm that has a significant problem-solving role to play. This paper forms part of a more comprehensive national study and addresses the current tends of sports-related research in the different fields of scientific inquiry. Qualitative methods that entailed 20 interviews with representatives from relevant sports entities and 19 focus group sessions in which 73 people participated were used. The results demonstrate a trend for individual research to be paramount and focused around niche areas in seven main disciplinary fields (e.g. sports medicine including physiotherapy and biokinetics, sport science, physical activity epidemiology and health or wellness, sport sociology integrated with historical and sport management studies, ergonomics, sport-recreation management and leisure studies, the psycho-social aspects of sport, education and training). Innovation particularly relates to sport medical and sport science research of entrepreneurial nature. A need for collaboration, inter-disciplinary research and grounded research within an African paradigm has been recognised.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2411-6939