Improving the Quality of Social Science Research: Formal Mentoring as Strategy

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This paper addresses the difficulty of defining quality research in the social sciences, in particular of qualitative and practice-based research. The study identified formal mentoring as one strategy to improve research quality. Thus, the objective of the enquiry was to design a model for research mentoring in the social sciences. Three theories were of particular relevance for the study, namely socio-constructivist learning, Wenger’s theory of learning in communities of practice and Erikson’s development theory. A number of mentoring models were critically analysed in terms of their advantages and disadvantages. Thereafter the views of nine academics that identified themselves as research novices on different aspects of mentoring, were determined by means of interviews. From the findings, a new model for formal research mentoring was designed with the aim of improving the quality of social science research.


Keywords: Research Quality, Formal Mentoring, Socio-Constructivism, Wenger's Theory, Erikson's Development Theory
Stream: Research Methodologies, Quantitative and Qualitative Methods
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Prof. Salome Schulze

Professor, Department of Further Teacher Education, University of South Africa (UNISA)
Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

Salome Schulze is a professor in the Department of Further Teacher Education at the University of South Africa. This is a distance education institution situated in Pretoria. Her research interests are research methodology, postgraduate supervision and research in Higher Education. In particular she is interested in qualitative research, research quality, institutional policies that influence research output and quality, and research mentoring. She has published widely in these areas and is also a seasoned supervisor of master's and doctoral students.

Ref: I08P0432