South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation

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Assessment of leisure and recreation research in Africa

Anneliese Goslin


Leisure and recreation are now accepted as identifiable research areas. Retrospective and prospective assessments of research in the field are therefore not only desirable but also necessary to consolidate what has been learned, clarify concepts and theories and provide a focus for future research. No such assessments have appeared over the last two decades in Africa. This might be a reason why leisure and recreation research here have not yet achieved the same scholarly level and diversity as in North America. The research assessment framework of Goodale and Witt has been applied to retrospectively assess the published scholarly work in the fields of leisure and recreation for the period 1980-2002 and to prospectively ascertain the opinions of 86 active scholars and practitioners in the relevant fields on future research directions in 10 African countries. The overall assessment suggests a moderate growth in quantity, weaknesses in conceptualisation and theory development and an ad hoc and eclectic approach with no real principal issues for future research. Recorded research has a short-term focus and is mostly of the fact-finding type and results are not disseminated adequately. The disciplinary roots of the research lie in the social sciences. The main barrier to the development of research seems to be the uninformed or partially informed attitude of members of the public and decision makers regarding the role and value of recreation in society.

(S. African J. for Research in Sport, Physical Ed. and Recreation: 2003 25 (1): 35-46)

AJOL African Journals Online