Lead Researchers’ Voices on the Nature and Motive of Academic Research at Makerere University

Journal of Social and Political

Sciences

ISSN 2615-3718 (Online)

ISSN 2621-5675 (Print)

Published: 01 November 2018

Lead Researchers’ Voices on the Nature and Motive of Academic Research at Makerere University

Muhamadi Kaweesi, Dr. Ronald Bisaso, Associate Professor Betty Akullu Ezati

Makerere University, Uganda

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10.31014/aior.1991.01.04.35

Abstract

The production of knowledge that is diverse in nature has gained importance in research-led universities. However, the nature of scientific knowledge and researchers' motives of producing such knowledge across disciplinary fields in research-led Sub-Saharan African universities are not clearly known. This study set out to access the voices of lead researchers regarding the nature and motive of academic research in Uganda's research-led flagship academic institution-Makerere University. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with twelve lead researchers that were purposively selected. This was triangulated with documents checks. The thematic analysis method was used to analyse data. The paper draws on Hakala and Ylijoki's knowledge production framework as an analytical lens. Overall, findings show that in spite of the production of knowledge that has application to policymakers, civil society, the ordinary people, and, the corporate sector, academic research is more understood in terms of the basic research orientation across disciplinary fields because the emphasis is more on publishing in top-ranked journals. Similarly, knowledge production takes place in a highly institutionalized and resource-constrained environment, and this has popularised the donor-driven research orientation. Because of the dominance of basic and donor-driven research, we recommend that there is a need to rethink the University promotional assessment model, diversify research funding sources, and selectively collaborate with the donors.

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