Undergraduate Research in South Africa: Understanding the Quandary.

Anisa Vahed*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


There are concerns that the South African higher education system is not
producing sufficient graduates to meet national needs in respect of economic
and social development. Systemic reform such as strengthening the
undergraduate teaching and research relationship, which is inextricably
tied to curriculum structure, is necessary to meet the goals of equity and
development and enhancing graduate quality. This can potentially widen
the pipeline into postgraduate studies and produce the next generation of
academics. The main argument of this chapter is the need to profoundly
change the manner in which teaching is structured in South Africa, in
order to shift the prevailing culture of undergraduate students as receivers
to one in which they are inquirers. This requires pedagogies that enable
inquiry-led learning to be developed, to actively engage students in the
research process and for them to make the linkage to their discipline-specific
practice. While it is acknowledged that South African higher education
research on students’ success in undergraduate degrees is gradually proliferating in the literature, an increased focus on building an undergraduate
research (UR) culture through pedagogical reforms is still needed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCambridge Handbook of Undergraduate Research
EditorsHarald A. Mieg, Elizabeth Ambos, Angela Brew, Dominique Galli, Judith Lehmann
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages507
ISBN (Print)978-1-108-83592-3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • undergraduate research
  • equity
  • pedagogical reform
  • Curriculum mapping


Dive into the research topics of 'Undergraduate Research in South Africa: Understanding the Quandary.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this