1. The research process and research in a time of pandemic

This first discussion will focus on framing what research is, conceptualising the research process as uncertain, and deal with how students and new researchers enter into the research process. This session will use this framing in order to deal with research in the pandemic and experiences of changing research methods during the covid-19 pandemic. 

Presenters: Alice Mushagalusa (SWOP PhD fellow) on conducting her PhD research in 2020 and changing research methods during a pandemic, Mapule Maema (independent consultant) on researching housing, evictions and access to basic services during the covid-19 pandemic in South Africa and Kezia Lewis (Sociology Department) on the Sociology Department research project on health responses to the covid-19 pandemic.

Chair: Mbuso Nkosi 
Date:  16 September 2021

2. Research and the ownership of ideas 

The second workshop takes on a topic that has been a point of contention within many research communities, including at SWOP. When working on projects in a collective manner, questions arise around who produces ideas and who “owns” them, what is it that is owned and when does an idea becomes owned? This session seeks to unpack and critique the common academic hierarchies of knowledge production. How do students, or “junior” academics, come to find themselves within pre-conceived research projects and how do principal investigators come to develop ideas for particular (and most-often grant funded) projects? 

Presenters:  Karl von Holdt (SWOP) and Gaynor Paradza (PARI) and Katlego Ramantsima (PLAAS).

Discussant: Nolundi Luwaya (LARC)

Date: 18 November 2021

3. Reflections on gender, race and class in the field 

In reflecting on the field within SWOP, challenges around gender, race and class are prevalent and continuous. In particular, black women researchers have consistently raised these challenges and their struggles with navigating multiple layers of power relations in the field. It is also often the case that these types of challenges are precisely those that are often neglected by the institutions of knowledge production. These institutions have often been found wanting in terms of confronting questions of gender, race and class while often relying on predetermined notions about “the researcher” and the research process. Presenters will provide reflections on this theme. 

Presenters:  Asanda Benya (UCT) and Hlengiwe Ndlovu (Wits) 

Discussant: Mosa Phadi (UFS)

Date: 24 February 2022

4. Ethics and the field

Ethical considerations are a significant part of any encounter in the field. This discussion on ethics and the field is not intended to be a narrow one on university ethics committees and the standards that are used by the university for the purposes of carrying out field research. Rather, we hope to shape this as a broader discussion around the ethics of research. In short, what happens when the ethical subject meets the other? As part of this session we hope that presenters will engage with questions about the positionality of the researcher, relationships with research assistants and “junior” researchers, and how certain communities are privileged as sites for ethical research.Presenters have been invited to reflect on this, drawing from their own encounters in the field and with the research process. 

Presenters:  Crispen Chinguno (SPU) and Kally Forrest 

Date: 30 June 2022

5. Finding voice in the research process

How does one find their “voice” and develop it? Finding one’s voice is a key part of scholarly work, but it is often neglected as part of the research process itself. This session will bring together presentations that reference experiences in the field and finding voice from different projects, sets of engagements, sites and reflections. 

Presenters:  Dineo Skosana (SWOP) and Mbuso Nkosi (UP)

Discussant: Tasneem Essop (SWOP)

Date: 29 November 2022