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Decolonising research methodologies in the Global South: Experiences of an African social scientist

Rosemary Chigevenga


Research is a systematic and objective way of gathering information to enrich the existing body of knowledge. The way research is conducted in parts of the Global South specifically in African contexts where I work, can be understood in terms of the continent’s colonial heritage and its regulations are mostly, if not predominantly Western-oriented. The aim of this paper is to unpack the experiences encountered by the researcher in undertaking studies in African contexts. From inception to data presentation and analysis, the researcher can testify that she was mostly guided by Western methodologies. This posed challenges and in some cases affected the authenticity of the research findings. In most research activities I engaged in, the ethical guidelines I adhered to, ways of selecting participants, data collection procedures and even the ways I presented and analysed data were guided by Western philosophies. Adopting approaches from the West without incorporating our indigenous knowledge systems make me feel that the studies I have conducted lack adequate African involvement. In some cases I could tell that the participants were distanced away from me as a researcher. Basing on such experiences, I therefore suggest that African research should mainly be guided by our African heritage for it to sufficiently address the needs of our communities.

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eISSN: 2409-5605
print ISSN: 1563-3934