The Idea of an African University: Research Study and the Dissemination of Research Findings in African Universities
The aim of this paper is to interrogate how research is conducted in our African universities paying attention to epistemological and paradigmatic issues. It seeks to problematize the issue of research against the background of a culturally rich African society which calls for a researcher to think carefully over the approach to be employed in the research study. The crisis in education in Africa could be tied to the nature of African culture vis-à-vis the approaches engaged by researchers in an attempt to come up with findings that portray a credible reflection of the issue at the core of a researcher’s study. Whereas a lot of research has been based on positivist paradigms, and have yielded some great findings, I feel in my opinion and influenced by other scholars, that in Africa a lot of important information is not captured by such absolutist methods. The nature of African culture identifies a lot with relativist epistemologies which in turn call for qualitative approaches in research methods. It is imperative therefore that in African universities qualitative approaches to the research study be developed and elevated in order to give research the relevant profundity. Tied to the question on how research is conducted, is the dissemination of research findings in African Universities. As a scholar of Communication Studies I believe that a research study will not have met its objectives if great works of great minds are stored away in college bookshelves. This is discussed pertaining to issues of policy making and development in the education sector. A few questions are posed: what do African universities do with the research findings, (particularly theses) after they have been submitted by scholars in the various fields of study? Do governments seek to use the findings of research to influence policy making in order to realize development of institutions of higher learning? The role of communication is discussed pertaining to the above mentioned issues with the aim of establishing the genesis of the difficulties African educational systems face and whether it is truly justified to label African education systems as the weakest in the world
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