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Educational Research for Social Change

On-line version ISSN 2221-4070


KHUPE, Constance  and  KEANE, Moyra. Towards an African education research methodology: decolonising new knowledge. Educ. res. soc. change [online]. 2017, vol.6, n.1, pp.25-37. ISSN 2221-4070.

South Africa has a number of policies to protect and promote indigenous knowledge (IK). The increasing interest in research into indigenous knowledge and science education in southern Africa has led not only to the production of publications, but also to numerous conferences, seminars, research centres, projects, learning materials, and postgraduate courses. However, research methods that are aligned to indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) are yet to develop to the extent that IK policy, publications, and interest groups have. Notwithstanding some authoritative texts (Chilisa, 2012; Odora Hoppers, 2004; Smith, 1999), there is a need for research-based examples from the southern African context that can offer authentic and nuanced suggestions for IK researchers of what an African research methodology might be. In this paper we present a brief overview of arguments for research methods that are consistent with IKS, propose features of such research orientations, and some examples of research processes. We synthesise some of the knowledge we have gained in this field in South Africa and offer considerations and reflections that will contribute to the conversation and exploration of creative, culturally relevant, and ethical ways forward for participative IK research.

Keywords : indigenous knowledge; cultural values; research framework; language; transformative participation; decolonisation.

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