Inkanyiso: Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

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The research trends of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Research at the University of Zululand, 1994 - 2008

D Ocholla, J Mostert


The Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences departments play a fundamental role in university education and in promoting the vision and mission of the University of Zululand. This paper explores definitions of Humanities and the Social Sciences, and the terms ‘research’ and ‘research output’, and examines the status and challenges of research management at the University of Zululand to evaluate research in the cited departments. A bibliometric method was used to analyse the trends and challenges of Humanities and Social Sciences research by using research data reflecting on ongoing and completed Arts, Humanities and Social Science research publications submitted by staff and students from 1994 – 2008 to the university’s Research Office. Data was analysed by categorising research output according to overall research publication by department, publication in accredited (SAPSE) journals by each department, author productivity, and research output by categories. Pearson’s correlation analysis was applied to test whether there was any correlation between registered research projects and research publications. Results indicate that strong AH&SS research engagement and publication exist at the university. Most research output was in the form of journal articles and conference papers. There was also growing postgraduate research output in the form of Masters and Doctoral dissertations. AH&SS research is generally multidisciplinary in nature. We noted that the system for capturing completed Masters and Doctoral research reports at the university is inadequate. The paper raises other issues that are important for AH&SS research and development.

Keywords: Research, research trends, humanities, social sciences, arts, humanities and social sciences, informetrics, University of Zululand

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