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Walking the theories we talk: Utilizing African social work theories in African research

Alemayehu Gebru
Wario Wako


The study employed a predominantly indigenous research framework of African-centered or Afrocentric research to explore how African social work researchers are using African social work theories as theoretical framework to guide their studies. This is important because African researchers are highly dependent on Western theories and research methodologies while investigating African issues. However, Western theories have not been suitable to comprehend the situations in Africa; therefore, it needs indigenous lenses to observe, analyze, and explain the social phenomena. The study participants were ten academician researchers at Jimma University who were identified through a purposive sampling technique. Also, eight articles were reviewed to learn whether the researchers used African theories as theoretical framework for their studies or not. The study employed thematic analysis to analyze the data. Finally, as ethical considerations, ethics don't exist on forms; it is human creatures that ought to be ethical. So, we used oral consent of the participants and conducted the interview with their language. To secure the trustworthiness of the study, the data were triangulated from interviewees and document reviews. The study showed that the reasons for why African social workers are relying on Western theories are to get acceptance, urban biased social work curriculum, lack of information about indigenous theories, the perplexity of developing theories and devaluing indigenous knowledge. Also, the study revealed that inducing researchers to use indigenous theories in their study and changing the orientation of our education are some solutions to minimize our dependence on Western theories while dealing with African issues. Therefore, we suggested that African scholars should see inward to better prognoses African matters and walk the theories we talk to be practical.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2409-5605
print ISSN: 1563-3934