Video noTopicDuration (minutes:seconds)
110The Elements of Entrepreneurship.12:47
111What is Entrepreneurship?17:31
112Challenges of the Entrepreneurial World.12:12
113The Window of Opportunity.06:05
114Strategic Management of Change.11:47
115The Concept ‘Strategy’.13:08
116What is Strategic Management.11:31
117The Strategy Formulation Process.14:43
118Considerations Following After the Formulation of the Vision and the Mission.16.18
119Strategy Analysis at the Business Level.17:10
120Scenarios and Strategy Development.19:22
121Formulating Scenarios.09:34
122Strategic Alternatives.07:00
123Implementing the Strategy.05:05
124The Management Processes.16:11
125Managing the External Environment.14:01
126Determining Strategic Objectives.10:42
127The Criteria for Strategic Objectives.14:52
128Analysis of Strategic Alternatives.17:39
129Other Business Strategies.09:32
130Selecting and Implementing a Business Strategy.15:02
131Thinking Creatively.08:52
132Types of Business.07:56
133Business Structures.13:06
134Your Business Profile.10:05
135Where does Entrepreneurship Start?09:31
136Characteristics of Good Entrepreneurs Part 1 of 3 Parts.10:49
137Characteristics of Good Entrepreneurs Part 2 of 3 Parts.10:24
138Characteristics of Good Entrepreneurs Part 3 of 3 Parts.09:54
139Ethics Part 1 of 4 Parts.09:24
140Ethics Part 2 of 4 Parts.13:45
141Ethics Part 3 of 4 Parts.10:03
142Ethics Part 4 of 4 Parts.07:32
143Planning your Business.13:31
144Your Interests and Fields of Business.15:04
145How to Conduct Market Research.12:42
146Identifying Business Opportunities through Market Research Part 1 of 2 Parts.08:06
147Identifying Business Opportunities through Market Research Part 2 of 2 Parts.13:22
149Critical Success Factors for a Small Business, Part 1 of 2 Parts.12:28
150Critical Success Factors for a Small Business, Part 2 of 2 Parts.09:43
151Doing a Viability Study and Preparing a Business Plan.11:36
152Doing a Viability Study, Including a Cash Flow Analysis.08:19
153Profile Issues to Include in Your Business Plan.12:33
154Final Remarks on the Business Plan.11:15
155Managing your Business.08:16
156Gaining a Competitive Advantage, Part 1 of 4 Parts.11:39
157Gaining a Competitive Advantage, Part 2 of 4 Parts.11:05
158Gaining a Competitive Advantage, Part 3 of 4 Parts.12:55
159Gaining a Competitive Advantage, Part 4 of 4 Parts.06:51
160Contingency Planning and Capacity Building.10:49
161Financial Management.12:13
163Implementing Your Business Plan.18:18
164The Biggest Mistakes that you can make in Running your Business.15:40
165Managing your Small Business, Part 1 of 2 Parts.12:24
166Managing your Small Business, Part 2 of 2 Parts.10:36
167Selling your Business, Part 1 of 5 Parts.08:03
168Selling your Business, Part 2 of 5 Parts.06:39
169Selling your Business, Part 3 of 5 Parts.14:59
170Selling your Business, Part 4 of 5 Parts.13:42
171Selling your Business, Part 5 of 5 Parts.12:22
Continue Reading


Portrait Of Confident Female Owner Of Restaurant Bar Standing By Counter
 TopicDuration (minutes:seconds)
1The Elements of Entrepreneurship.12:47
2What is Entrepreneurship?17:31
3Challenges of the Entrepreneurial World.12:12
4The Window of Opportunity.06:05
5Strategic Management of Change.11:47
6The Concept ‘Strategy’.13:08
7What is Strategic Management.11:31
8The Strategy Formulation Process.14:43
9Considerations Following After the Formulation of the Vision and the Mission.16.18
10Strategy Analysis at the Business Level.17:10
11Scenarios and Strategy Development.19:22
12Formulating Scenarios.09:34
13Strategic Alternatives.07:00
14Implementing the Strategy.05:05
15The Management Processes.16:11
16Managing the External Environment.14:01
17Determining Strategic Objectives.10:42
18The Criteria for Strategic Objectives.14:52
19Analysis of Strategic Alternatives.17:39
20Other Business Strategies.09:32
21Selecting and Implementing a Business Strategy.15:02
22Thinking Creatively.08:52
23Types of Business.07:56
24Business Structures.14:14
Continue Reading

Steps to Enrol for a Mentornet Online Course or to Watch a Video

African American woman student with afro hairstyle wear yellow cardigan, sitting on windowsill, working doing remote job on laptop, learning using online course. Self-education, preparing for an exam.
  1. Search the Mentornet online website by typing in the text box that your search engine uses (for example Google) and ENTER. That is the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) for the Mentornet online platform.
  2. “Welcome to Mentornet Online” and “You have been logged in successfully” will appear on your computer screen.
  3. Click on “Register” if you did not use the platform before.
  4. A matrix (table) will appear asking your personal details.
  5. Complete the table. It is simple, but a short video on how to complete the table is available. You should now see the invitation to watch the video for free.
  6. Click on “Video Courses” at the top of your screen.
  7. A dropdown menu with options for two available video courses will appear.
  8. Click on “Proficiency Course in Entrepreneurship in the Post-COVID 19 Era”.
  9. You can now watch the five-minute introductory video on the course for free if you did not watch it on Facebook already.
  10. Scroll down to the menu of videos that are available.
  11. Click in the relevant box to add a video or videos that you would like to watch.
  12. Your video choice(s) will now appear in the top-right of your screen.
  13. Click on “Register now” even if you already registered in step 3.
  14. The payment options will now appear on your screen.
  15. Choose when to pay by clicking in the small circle next to two possible options (“pay now” or “pay later”). The steps for both options are the same, so the further steps are for “pay now”.
  16. Choose “Pay now” on the right-hand side of the payment options also by clicking in the text box.
  17. The payment options and the amount due are shown in the next screen shot.
  18. Click on the payment option of your choice.
  19. From here you will need to follow your bank’s instructions on your cell phone or laptop computer, whichever you use to do the payment.
  20. It will take a while for the video or videos of your choice to become available, depending on how long it takes for the payment to take place. They will automatically show on your screen whenever you visit the online platform again.
Continue Reading

References Consulted to Write the Scripts for the Videos on Entrepreneurship in the Post COVID-19 Reality

AmosWEB Encyclonomic. Factors of Production.

Accessed on 2015/06/11

Ashmore, Cathy. 2005. The Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education, Columbus, OH.

Berkowski, G. 2017: 211. How to Build a Billion Dollar APP. Piatkus, London.

Berkun, S. Why You Shouldn’t Trust Your Gut.

Accessed on 2015/06/10

Burrus, D. Creativity and Innovation: Your Keys to a Successful Organization.…

Accessed on 2015/06/10

Business Partners Ltd. A Partnership as a legal entity.

Accessed on 2015/03/25

Better Explained. Understanding Debt, Risk and Leverage.

Accessed on 2014/04/02

Boston, T. 2007. Capacity Building in the New Economy: A Mandate for Minority-owned Businesses. Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council, Atlanta USA.

Businesstech. How effective risk management can help businesses grow.

Accessed on 09/04/2020.

Businesstech. Call to allow certain business sectors to reopen under extended lockdown.

Accessed on 11/04/2020.

Businesstech. Knowles, D. How and when will this coronavirus pandemic end? WEF asked a virologist.

Accessed on 11/04/2020.

Businesstech. South Africa needs a long-term coronavirus strategy – including the re-opening of takeaways and other stores.… Accessed on 15/04/2020.

Businesstech. ‘Real and dire possibilities’ facing South Africa after lockdown: Dawie Roodt. Accessed on 16 April 2020.

Businesstech. Moody’s slashes growth forecast for South Africa.

Accessed on 16/04/2020.

Businesstech. 7 ways South Africa can raise money for coronavirus relief – including through pension funds. Accessed on 21/04/2020.

Businesstech. The good, the bad and the ugly facing South Africa after lockdown. Accessed on 21/04/2020.

Businesstech. Here’s how Covid-19 could shake up South Africa’s politics. Accessed on 23/04/2020.

Businesstech. Expect big jump in taxes to pay for South Africa’s coronavirus support plan: Dawie Roodt. Accessed on 23/04/2020.

Businesstech. South Africa’s jobs shocker after the 35-day lockdown.

Accessed on 05/05/2020.

Businesstech. Government is treating South Africans like ‘naughty children’. Accessed on 05/05/2020.

Businesstech. Why some businesses in the technology industry thrive in times of crisis.

Accessed on 19/05/2020.

Catmull, E. 2014. Creativity, Inc. Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration. Bantam Press, London.

Close Corporations – South Africa.

Accessed on 2015/03/12

Business Audit.

Accessed on 2015/03/25

Corruption Watch. 18 July 2014. Corruption Challenges are Different for Small Businesses. Corruption News.

Creativebusiness Consulting Group. Seen and Heard – W hite Papers. Brand is a Competitive Advantage.

Accessed on 2016/04/06

Desmarais, C. Sell Your Business for More Than It’s Worth.

Accessed on 2016/03/29

Edmunds, G. Persevere if you want to succeed in business.

Accessed on 2015/04/07

Finansies & Tegniek, SBDC, F & T Weekly. 1996. Home-based Business Resource. Business Start-up Guide.

Fisher, C. What is the Difference Between a Customer Vs. a Client?

Accessed on 2015/04/10

Forbes. Seven Common Small Business Mistakes.

Accessed on 2015/07/15

George S. May. 11/3/2005. Ethical Business Operations.

Hunt, J. and Lascaris, R., 1998. The South African Dream. Zebra Press. Halfway House.

Ismail, T., Kleyn, N. and Ansell, G. 2013. New Markets, New Mindsets. Stone bridge Books. Auckland Park.

Journal of Extension. October 1999. Empowerment: What Is It? Volume 37, Number 5.

Kuper, L. 2006. Ethics – The Leadership Edge. Zebra Press. Cape Town.

Lim, L. South China Morning Post. The Italian origins of the word ‘quarantine’ and the extended isolation it implied.…

Accessed on 11/04/2020.

MacCleod, G. 1988. Starting your own Business in South Africa. Oxford University Press. Cape Town. Fifth Edition.

Madri, S., van den Heever, A., Francis, D., Valodia, I., Veller, M. and Sachs, M. South Africa needs to end the Lockdown. This is a Blueprint for its Replacement. Accessed on 11/04/2020.

Marketing. Gaining a Competitive Advantage.

Accessed on 2015/04/10

Marshall, D. Business Insider.

There’s A Critical Difference Between Creativity And Innovation.

Accessed on 2015/06/10

Mason, M.K. What Causes Small Businesses to Prosper? success_x.htm.

Accessed on 2016/03/08.

Misa, M. The Guardian. The importance of perseverance in business.…

Accessed on 2015/04/07

NBC News. Rich people more likely to cheat, behave badly, research finds.

Accessed on 2015/06/23

Nieman, G., Hough, J., and Nieuwenhuizen, C. (Editors). 2003. Entrepreneurship. A South African Perspective. Van Schaik Publishers. Pretoria.

NOLO Law for All. Mistakes Made by New Businesses: The Top Ten.

Accessed on 2015/07/15

Program for Acquiring Competence in Entrepreneurship (PACE).

Profits Come From Taking Business Risks.


Accessed on 2015/06/11

Panek, N. The Power of Perseverance in Business.

Accessed on 2015/04/07

Real Business, MWEB Business, Microsoft and Standard Bank. March 2005. Small Capital. A Practical Guide for Small Business Owners.

Real Business, MWEB Business, Microsoft and Standard Bank. May 2005. Small Capital. A Practical Guide for Small Business Owners.

Real Business, MWEB Business, Microsoft and Standard Bank. September 2005. Small Capital. A Practical Guide for Small Business Owners.

Santiago, C.T. If honesty is the best policy then why most of the honest people remain poor and middleclass, but dishonest people get rich?

Accessed on 2015/06/23

Small Business South Africa. Business Insurance for Small Business South Africa.

Accessed on 2015/04/13

Smit, C. MindTools. Taking Initiative. Making Things Happen in the Workplace.

Accessed on 2015/06/11

Solis, B. Experience as a Competitive Advantage.

Accessed on 2016/03/22

South African Local Government Association (SALGA). Cooperatives.

Accessed on 2016/04/04

Strachan & Crouse. How to determine the selling price when buying or selling a small business.

Accessed on 2016/03/31

Sunday Times. 11 September 2005. How BEE benefits Whites.

The Economist. 5 May 2020. What the world has learned during the lockdown. YOUTUBE, accessed on 1/06/2020.

Thiel, P. and Masters, B. Zero to One. Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. Virgin Books. London.

Tichy, N. and Bennis, W. Harvard Business Review. Making Judgment Calls.

Accessed on 2015/06/10

Wight, E. The Guardian. Small business tips: How to do market research.…

Accessed on 2015/04/13

Zwilling, M. Independence is the Real Driver for Entrepreneurship.

Accessed on 2016/03/16.

Continue Reading

Making vides on research methodology in Africa

Written by Dr. Hannes Nel, D. Com, D. Phil

Context is what it is all about.

Ontology, epistemology, ethnomethodology, phenomenology and all the other “gy’s” mean pretty much the same when considered in terms of grammar. Interpretivists would tell you that every culture and historical situation is different and unique. That is why research conducted in an African context will be different from research in a European, Asian or any other context. And even “European” and “Asian” are overgeneralized contexts.

Even so, research methodology remains the same all over the world because the same principles and processes can be applied to different contexts.

Hello, my name is Hannes Nel and I have developed 109 video lessons on research methodology. Initially I worked from my office and house in Pretoria. Halfway through the process my wife and I moved to Hartenbos in the Southern Cape. That is when the environment became more interesting.

One night I was visited by a small snake with a huge self-image. Although only about 15 centimeters long, the little guy would lift his head and pump up his neck pretending to be a Cape Cobra. It was a Wolf snake, and they are harmless. I grabbed the little guy by the neck and gently dropped him over the fence into the safety of the open field.

Not long after that a centipede, about 5 cm long and fifteen millimeters wide crawled through under the same door as the snake. This rascal was incredibly fast and made a dash for the safety of a couch. I looked under all three our couches but could not find him. I sometimes wake up between two and three o’clock in the morning. Once I start thinking about work, I know that I will not sleep again, so I would get up, make myself a cup of coffee and work on the script for my next video. About two weeks after the centipede invaded my house, I accidently stepped on him in the dark passage leading to my room. He left his hide during the night, probably looking for food. Fortunately, I had my sandals on because a centipede can deliver nasty bite.

My wife had a rather extensive succulent collection in Pretoria and she brought some of them with to Hartenbos. She also bought some new ones in the Northern Cape, which is almost a desert, so that one can find ones that make the most beautiful flowers there.

Sadly, the suburb where we live is developing at an incredible pace. The natural vegetation is rapidly being lost to new houses. That is why the guineafowl are peeping over our neighbour’s fence to see if there is not, perhaps, some open space and something to eat for them on the other side. And the family of partridges that used to scratch around in our garden also left when the building contractors appeared on the scene. A family of rabbits lived and bred in the open field next to our house. You can still see them from time to time, but they are also moving out.

A thick knee bird laid two eggs right next to my study. They don’t build a nest like most other birds do. Their eggs are well camouflaged, so they just lay them on the unprepared ground. We have a collection of different protea species in our garden and the thick knee bird laid her eggs under one of the smaller protea bushes.

The male and female take turns sitting on the eggs and the one sitting on the eggs will not easily leave the nest even when threatened. The other one would stay in the vicinity to protect the nest and sitting partner. If you approach them, he or she would spread their wings and their eyes, which are usually a soft yellow will turn to a fierce-looking bright orange colour to scare you away.

One night a wild cat or some other predator attacked the male sitting on the nest. The next morning, he was gone. I found only the scull on my driveway. What I found strange was that the were no feathers or bones, only the clean-stripped skull. The hen still tried to hatch the eggs, but I am not sure if they hatched because I had to return to Pretoria to finalise our move.

Nature must be angry at us. In the early hours of 29 September 2019 a huge thunder storm broke out over the suburb where we live. In less than twenty minutes the water broke a 6 meter gap in the wall between our house and the one above us, raged through our yard and crashed into the wall on the other side of our house, breaking a six meter gap in this wall.

I wish we could just live with nature without having to disturb the habitat of the wild animals.  We really need to find a way in which to live with nature rather than to destroy and disrupt without thinking about the damage that we are causing. Fortunately, there is a game reserve less than a hundred meters from the suburb where we live so that most of the animals can move there.

In closing, allow me to share some brief notes on the videos on research methodology that I produced:

  1. The videos are aimed at students who wish to embark on P. Hd. or master’s degree studies.
  2. I am posting one video per week on YOUTUBE where anybody can have access to them for free.
  3. In addition, I am posting the scripts that I used to produce the videos as articles on one of our web sites ( You can, therefore, also read the articles for free.
  4. The full video menu is also posted as an article on the “intgrty” web site.
  5. You can also gain access to the videos on our online learning platform at less than one USA Dollar per video. Once you have gained access to a video, you can revisit it as many times as you wish at no additional cost.
  6. Prospective or studying post-graduate students need not watch all the videos. You should be able to write your thesis or dissertation if you watch only the videos that are relevant to your research level and topic. Five or six videos will probably be enough.
  7. Lecturers can also use the videos as training aids, thereby saving their students the cost of having to pay for the videos.
  8. Lecturers can also use the questions that I ask in my tests in theirs and they need not acknowledge the source. The electronic address of the platform is:


  • I also posted 3 videos with open access as a sample on our online learning platform.
  • I also developed a ten-question online test per video. Those who watched the videos on the online platform can do the tests online at no additional cost. They can repeat the tests as many times as they wish and, once they have successfully completed all 109 tests, will automatically be issued with a Mentornet Proficiency Certificate in Research Methodology.

Enjoy our studies.

Thank you.

Continue Reading

Video-lessons on Research Methodology on Master’s Degree or Doctoral Level

The videos are posted on the Mentornet Online Platform (

Videos range between 5 and 18 minutes in duration.

  1. Why Would You Embark on Ph. D. or Master’s Degree Studies?
  2. The Research Proposal.
  3. How to Structure Your Research Proposal.
  4. The Difference Between a Research Report on the Honours, the Master’s and the Doctoral Level.
  5. How to Structure a Title Page for a Master’s Degree Thesis or a Ph. D. Dissertation.
  6. The Layout and Structure of a Table of Contents for a Ph. D. Dissertation.
  7. How to Decide on the Context for Your Ph. D. or Master’s Degree Research.
  8. How to Choose a Research Approach for a Ph. D. or Master’s Degree Study.
  9. The Nature and Structure of a Ph. D. Dissertation or Master’s Degree Thesis.
  10. The Relationship Between the Ph. D. Student and the Study Leader.
  11. The Table of Contents of your Ph. D. Dissertation or Master’s Degree Thesis.
  12. How to Prepare an Abstract for a Ph. D. Dissertation.
  13. How to Write the First Chapter of Your Ph. D. Dissertation or Master’s Degree Thesis.
  14. How to Write the Second Plus Chapters of Your Ph. D. Dissertation or Master’s Degree Thesis.
  15. Creating a Draft for a Ph. D. Dissertation or Master’s Degree Thesis.
  16. The Research Problem, Question or Hypothesis for a Ph. D. Dissertation or a Master’s Degree Thesis.
  17. How to Find a Topic for Ph. D. or Master’s Degree Research.
  18. How to Establish Objectives for Ph. D. or Master’s Degree Research.
  19. The Scope for a Ph. D. Dissertation or Master’s Degree Thesis.
  20. Specifying the Limitations for Your Ph. D. or Master’s Degree Research.
  21. Consulting Sources of information for Your Ph. D. or Master’s Degree Research.
  22. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies.
  23. The Interrelatedness of Ontology, Epistemology and Methodology.
  24. Research Methods: Action Research.
  25. Research Methods: Case Studies.
  26. Research Methods: Conceptual Studies.
  27. Research Methods: Ethnography.
  28. Research Methods: Experimental Methods.
  29. Research Methods: Field Research.
  30. Research Methods: Grounded Theory.
  31. Research Methods: Historical Research.
  32. Research Methods: Literature Study.
  33. Research Methods: Sampling Part 1 of 6.
  34. Research Methods: Sampling Part 2 of 6.
  35. Research Methods: Sampling Part 3 of 6.
  36. Research Methods: Sampling Part 4 of 6.
  37. Research Methods: Sampling Part 5 of 6.
  38. Research Methods: Sampling Part 6 of 6.
  39. Research Methods: Statistical Research Methods Part 1 of 2.
  40. Research Methods: Statistical Research Methods Part 2 of 2.
  41. Research Methods: Transformative Research.
  42. Research Methods: Paradigmatic Approaches.
  43. Research Paradigms: Behaviorism.
  44. Research Paradigms: Constructivism.
  45. Research Paradigms: Critical Race Theory.
  46. Research Paradigms: Critical Theory.
  47. Research Paradigms: Empiricism.
  48. Research Paradigms: Ethnomethodology.
  49. Research Paradigms: Feminism.
  50. Research Paradigms: Functionalism.
  51. Research Paradigms: Hermeneutics.
  52. Research Paradigms: Humanism.
  53. Research Paradigms: Interpretivism.
  54. Research Paradigms: Liberalism.
  55. Research Paradigms: Modernism.
  56. Research Paradigms: Neoliberalism.
  57. Research Paradigms: Phenomenology.
  58. Research Paradigms: Positivism.
  59. Research Paradigms: Post-colonialism.
  60. Research Paradigms: Post-modernism.
  61. Research Paradigms: Post-positivism.
  62. Research Paradigms: Post-structuralism.
  63. Research Paradigms: Pragmatism.
  64. Research Paradigms: Pre-modernism.
  65. Research Paradigms: Radicalism.
  66. Research Paradigms: Rationalism.
  67. Research Paradigms: Relativism.
  68. Research Paradigms: Romanticism.
  69. Research Paradigms: Scientism.
  70. Research Paradigms: Structuralism.
  71. Research Paradigms: Symbolic Interactionism.
  72. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Collection.
  73. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Contextualising Your Research.
  74. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Using Documents to Collect Data.
  75. Research methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Quantitative Data Collection Methods.
  76. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Qualitative Data Collection Methods.
    1. Artefacts.
    1. Graphics and drawings.
  77. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Collection Methods. Interviewing Part 1 of 4.
  78. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Collection Methods. Interviewing Part 2 of 4.
  79. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Collection Methods. Interviewing Part 3 of 4.
  80. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Collection Methods. Interviewing Part 4 of 4.
  81. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Collection Methods. Observation Part 1 of 2.
  82. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Collection Methods. Observation Part 2 of 2.
  83. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Collection Methods. Online Data Sources Part 1 of 2.
  84. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Collection Methods. Online Data Sources Part 2 of 2.
  85. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Collection Methods. Written Documents.
  86. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Preparing for Data Collection.
  87. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Analysis Through Coding.
  88. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Analysis, Part 1 of 7.
    1. Analytical induction.
    1. Biographical analysis.
  89. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Analysis, Part 2 of 7.
    1. Comparative analysis.
    1. Content analysis.
  90. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Analysis, Part 3 of 7. Conversation and Discourse Analysis.
  91. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Analysis, Part 4 of 7. Elementary Analysis.
  92. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Analysis, Part 5 of 7. Ethnographic Analysis.
  93. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Analysis, Part 6 of 7.
    1. Inductive thematic analysis.
    1. Narrative analysis.
    1. Retrospective analysis.
  94. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Analysis, Part 7 of 7.
    1. Schema analysis.
    1. Situational analysis.
    1. Textual analysis.
    1. Thematic analysis.
  95. Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Analysis. Methods for Organizing and Analysing Data Part 1 of 2.
  • Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Data Analysis. Methods for Organizing and Analysing Data Part 2 of 2.
  • Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: The Layout of the Thesis or Dissertation Part 1 of 10.
  • 10.
    • Deconstruction.
    • Empirical generalization.
  • Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: The Layout of the Thesis or Dissertation Part 3 of 10. Ethics in research part 1 of 3.
  • Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: The Layout of the Thesis or Dissertation Part 4 of 10. Ethics in research part 2 of 3.
  • Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: The Layout of the Thesis or Dissertation Part 5 of 10. Ethics in research part 3 of 3.
  • Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: The Layout of the Thesis or Dissertation Part 6 of 10. Typing format.
  • Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: The Layout of the Thesis or Dissertation Part 7 of 10. Quotations.
  • Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: The Layout of the Thesis or Dissertation Part 8 of 10. Referencing sources.
  • Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: The Layout of the Thesis or Dissertation Part 9 of 10. Essential information in references. Part 1 of 2.
  • Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: The Layout of the Thesis or Dissertation Part 10 of 10. Essential information in references. Part 2 of 2.
  • Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Reviewing the Thesis or Dissertation Part 1 of 3.      
    • The purpose of the review.
    • The relevance of sources.
  • Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Reviewing the Thesis or Dissertation Part 2 of 3.
    • The relevance of ideas in the literature.
    • Reviewing language usage.
  • Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Reviewing the Thesis or Dissertation Part 3 of 3.
    • The title page.
    • Proofreading.
    • Appendices.
    • A review checklist.
    • Presentation of the report.
Continue Reading

References Consulted for the Production of the Videos on Research Methodology for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies

Prepared by Dr. Hannes Nel


Abraham-Hamanoiel, D.; Freedman, D.; Khiabany, G.; Nash, K. and Petley, J. (Editors), 2017. Liberalism in Neoliberal Times. Dimensions, Contradictions, Limits. Godsmiths Press. London.

Anderson, J. and Poole, M. 2001. Assignment & Thesis Writing. South African Edition. Juta. Pretoria.

Babbie, E., 2011. Introduction to Social Research. International Edition. Cengage Learning. Wadsworth, Australia.

Babbie, E. and Mouton, J. 2004. Fourth edition. The practice of Social Research. Oxford University Press. New York.

Bak, N. 2013. Completing your thesis. A practical guide. Van Schaik Publishers, Pretoria.

Berg, B.L. and Lune, H. 2014. Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences. Pearson. Harlow.

Berlin, I. 1999. The Roots of Romanticism. Princeton University Press. Princeton and Oxford.

Blaikie, N. and Priest, J. 2017. Social Research. Paradigms in Action. Clay Ltd, St. Ives PLC.

Blaxter, L., Hughes, C. and Tight, M. 2010. How to Research.Fourth Edition. Mc Graw Hill, Open University Press. New York.

Bryman, A., Bell, E., Hirschsohn, P., dos Santos, A., du Toit, J., Masenge, A., van Aard, I., Wagner, C. 2017. Research Methodology. Oxford University Press. Cape Town.

Clarke, E. 2005. Situational Analysis. Grounded Theory after the Postmodern Turn. Sage Publications Inc. London.

Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K. 2010. Research Methods in Education. Routledge. London and New York.

Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln, Y.S. 2000. Handbook of Qualitative Research. Second edition. Sage Publications, Inc. Thousand Oaks. London, New Delhi.

Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln, Y.S. 2018. The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. Fifth edition. Sage Publications, Inc. Los Angeles.

De Vos, A.S, Strydom, H., Fouché, C.B. and Delport, C.S.L. 2006. Research at Grass roots. Third Edition. Van Schaik Publishers. Pretoria.

Du Plooy-Cilliers, F., Davis, C. and Bezuidenhout, R. 2014. Research Matters. Juta and Company Ltd. Somerset-West.

Killam, L. 2013. Research Terminology Simplified. Paradigms, Axiology, Ontology, Epistemology and Methodology. E-Book.

Maxwell, J.A. 2013. Qualitative Research Design. An Interactive Approach. Sage. Los Angeles.

McMillan, J.H., and Schumacher, S. 2001. Research in Education. R.R. Donneley & Sons, Inc. Harrisonburg.

Muijs, D. 2011. Doing Quantitative Research in Education with SPSS. Second edition. Sage Publications Inc. California.

Silverman, D. (editor). 2016. Qualitative Research. Fourth edition. Sage Publications, Inc. Los Angeles.

TerréBlanche, M. & Durrheim, K. 1999. Research in Practice. Applied Methods for the Social Science.University of Cape Town Press. Cape Town.

Yin, R.K., 2016. Qualitative Research. The Guilford Press. New York.

Internet sources

Aber, J. The Technical, the Practical, and the Emancipatory: A Habermasian view of Composition Pedagogy.

Accessed on 01/05/2018.

Academic Phrasebank. Writing Conclusions.

Accessed on 05/09/2011. Difference between thesis and dissertation?

Accessed on 12/09/2011.

AQR. Behaviourism.

Accessed on 23/11/2017.

Assumptions of Feminist Paradigms.

Accessed on 04/04/2017. Multiple Correlation.

Accessed on 30/08/2011.

BBC News Europe. German Defence Minister Guttenberg resigns over thesis.

Accessed on 06/09/2011.

Caldwell, W. Multi/Inter/Trans-disciplinary, What’s the Difference?

Accessed on 07/02/2019.

CAMO Software AS. Statistical Regression Analysis.

Accessed on 02/03/2018.

Chilisa, B. and Kawulich, B. Selecting a research approach: paradigm, methodology and methods.

Accessed on 01/05/2018.

Clin, D.M. Appendix and annexure.

Accessed on 23/08/2011.

Dames, K.M. The Difference Between Copyrights & Intellectual Property. Core Copyright.

Accessd on 19/02/2018.

Dash, N.K. Module: Selection of the Research Paradigm and Methodology.… Accessed on 18/08/2011.

Descombe, M. Communities of Practice. A research Paradigm for the Mixed Methods Approach. Journal of Mixed Methods Research Volume 2 Number 3 July 2008: 270 – 283. Sage Publications.

Accessed on 05/05/2018.

Dudovskiy, J. Constructivism Research Philosophy.

Accessed on 22/11/2017.

Educational Broadcasting Corporation. Concepts to Classroom. Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning.

Accessed on 22/11/2017.


Accessed on 02/09/2011.

Ethnographic film.

Accessed on 06/09/2011.

Factor Analysis.

Accessed on 30/08/2011.

Factor Analysis.

Accessed on 30/08/2011.

Google. What is schema analysis?

Accessed on 01/05/2018.

Individual Philosopher. The Basics of Philosophy. Scientism.

Accessed on 30/04/2018.

The Free Dictionary. Feminist paradigm. Article about Feminist paradigm.

Accessed on 04/04/2017.

Georgetown University Library. Evaluating Internet Resources.

Accessed on 28/02/2017.

Given, L.M. and Oslon, H.A. Organizing Knowledge = Organizing Data: Applying Principles of Information Organization to the Research Process.

Accessed on 06/09/2011.

Goldkuhl, G. 2012. Pragmatism vs Interpretivism in Qualitative Information Systems Research. European Journal of Information Systems, (21), 2, 135 – 146.

Accessed on 22/02/2017.

Hiemstra, R. Critical Path Analysis.

Accessed on 30/08/2011.

Hung, P-Y. and Popp, A. Learning to Do Historical Research: A Primer How to Frame a Researchable Question.

Accessed on 19/08/2011.

Kalla, S. 3 June 2010. Statistical Validity.

Accessed on 02/03/2018.

Kinnsela, E.A. Hermeneutics and Critical Hermeneutics: Exploring Possibilities Within the Art of Interpretation.

Accessed on 20/11/2017.

Lee, I. Works Cited, References and Bibliography – What’s the Difference?

Accessed on 26/08/2011.

LEO. MLA Parenthetical Documentation.

Accessed on 26/08/2011.

Limitations, delimitations.

Accessed on 05/09/2011.

Litman, T. Evaluating Research Quality.

Accessed on 05/09/2011.

Mackenzie, N. and Knipe, S. Research dilemmas: Paradigms, methods and methodology.

Accessed on 04/05/2018.

Mertens, D.M. July 1, 2007. Transformative Paradigms. Journal of Mixed Methods Research.

Accessed on 21/02/2017.

Multiple correlation.

Accessed on 30/08/2011.

National Science Foundation, Arlington, Virginia, USA. Definition of Transformative Research.

Accessed on 21/02/2017.

Naz. How to write an assignment: guidelines for students.

Accessed on 25/08/2011.

Path Analysis.

Accessed on 30/08/2011.

Predictive Analytics Today.

Accessed on 22/02/2018.

PubMed. Multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary in health research, services, education and policy: 1. Definitions, objectives, and evidence of effectiveness.

Accessed on 07/02/2019.

Purdue OWL. Proofreading.

Accessed on 29/08/2011.

Regression analysis.

Accessed on 30/08/2011.

ReviseSociology. Criticism of Neoliberalism.

Accessed on 24/04/2018.

Revolvy. Radical hermeneutics. hermeneutics…

Accessed on 21/11/2017.

Ryan, A.B. Post-positivist Approaches to Research.

Accessed on 04/05/2018.

SAGE Journals online.

Accessed on 26/08/2011.

Samuels, H. Basic Steps in the Research Process. Cambridge Rindge and Latin Research Guide.

Accessed on 25/08/2011.

Selecting Participants and Conducting Research.

Accessed on 29/08/2011.

Shuttleworth, M. The Parts of a Research Paper.

Accessed on 05/09/2011.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Critical Theory.

Accessed on 09/02/2017.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Relativism.

Accessed on 24/11/2017.

Steiner, C.J. 2002. The Technicist Paradigm and Scientism in Qualitative Research. The Qualitative Report, Volume 7, Number 2, Article 4.

Accessed on 05/04/2017.

Statpac.Inc. Statistical Significance.

Accessed on 02/03/2018.

Summary of Survey Analysis Software.

Accessed on 26/08/2011.

The Guardian. Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems.

Accessed on 24/04/2018.

Thorsen, D.E. and Lie, A. What is Neoliberalism? Department of Political Science, University of Ohio. Alternatively: https://

Accessed on 02/05/2018.

Trevors, J.T. Transformative research: definitions, approaches and consequences.

Accessed on 24/11/2017.

UNISA. Chapter 4: Research Methodology and Design.

Accessed on 16/02/2017.

University Libraries. Evaluating webpages for research.

Accessed on 28/02/2017.

University of Cape Town. Guidelines for the Preparation of a Research Proposal.

Accessed on 06/12/2017.

University of Cape Town. Guidelines for Minor Dissertation/Research Papers. LLM and MPhil by Coursework and Minor Dissertation Postgraduate Diploma.

Accessed on 06/12/2017.

Wright, J. What are the limitations of phenomenology?

Accessed on 24/04/2018.


Anderson, T. Date unknown. Research Paradigms: Ontologies, Epistemologies & Methods. PhD Seminar slide show, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.

Asiko, A.B. December 2016. Beyond a Qualitative Enquiry: A Neoliberal Society and Power Relations in Action. International Journal of Scientific Research and Innovative Technology. Vol 3 No. 12.

Crews, K.D. 2013. Copyright and Your Research report: Ownership, Fair Use, and Your Rights and Responsibilities. ProQuest Article.

Mackenzie, N. and Knipe, S. 2006. Research delimmas: Paradigms, methods and methodology. Issues In Educational Research, Vol 16.

Nel, J.P. 2007. A Strategic Approach to Quality Assurance in Occupationally-directed Education, Training and Development in South Africa. D. Phil Dissertation. University of Johannesburg.

Continue Reading

ARTICLE 109: Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Reviewing the Thesis or Dissertation Part 3 of 3 Parts

Written by Dr. Hannes Nel

As a last snippet of information on writing and reviewing a thesis or dissertation, I briefly discuss the following salient issue in this article:

  1. The title page for thesis or dissertation.
  2. Proofreading the manuscript.
  3. Adding appendices to a thesis or dissertation.
  4. Using a review checklist.
  5. Presentation of the thesis or dissertation.

The title page

The title should convey clearly and succinctly the topic being researched. Avoid obscure and unnecessarily lengthy titles. Some universities recommend that titles should not exceed 15 words. Start off with a working title and revisit and reformulate as you read for greater focus.


Proofreading is primarily about searching for errors, both grammatical and typographical, before submitting your manuscript to a study leader. You need to take note of the technical and editorial requirements for a thesis or dissertation as prescribed by the university.

Do not underestimate the importance of proofreading. It does not matter how good your langue proficiency is, you should still have your thesis or dissertation language-edited. Language editors can also make mistakes and miss errors, therefore you should still personally read the final draft of your thesis with utmost care, correcting all typing errors before you present the completed thesis to your study leader.

It helps to determine in advance what to look for when proofreading your manuscript. This process of individualisation can be done by preparing a checklist of criteria against which you can test your work.

Experienced researchers will know what common errors and flaws to look out for and they can often search for these by computer, thereby rendering the proofreading process more efficient and effective than if they were to blindly read the entire manuscript. Even so, it is always a good idea to read everything as many times as you possibly can. It also helps to ask somebody else to critically read the manuscript because we tend to miss our own mistakes. You should find out what your typical problem areas are and look for each type of error individually. There is no single right way in which to do proofreading, so the following are just guidelines:

  1. Find out what errors you typically make. This is something that comes with experience and writing even just one thesis or dissertation will already give you a good idea of the kind of errors that you tend to make repeatedly. Your study leader can point out such bad habits and help you understand why you make the errors so that you can learn to be on the lookout for them and to avoid them.
  2. Learn how to fix your common errors. Use a structured proofreading process. Some students prefer to read the assignment or thesis from the back to the front, others read chapters or sections in a specific sequence, others read word-by word (which is very time-consuming, but effective). Review your study leader’s comments about your writing and/or have your thesis or dissertation reviewed by a language editor. Learn what facilities your computer and software offer you with which you can correct errors more quickly.
  3. Take a break. Allow yourself time between writing and proofreading. It is not healthy to sit behind your desk all day, especially if you work on computer. Besides, taking a short break every hour or so will help you get some distance from, and allow you time to think about what you have written. Any researcher can testify that taking a break and sleeping on a challenge can do wonders to findings solutions to challenges, and seeing what you have written more clearly in your mind.
  4. Leave yourself enough time to review what you have written. Working against time seldom, if ever, works when writing and proofreading. Deep thinking is necessary, and it requires thinking about what you have written and the message that you wish to convey. Reading what you have written critically will help you to see a multitude of possible errors, such as cognitive dissonance, spelling errors, typing errors, subjectivity and many more. Always read through your writing slowly and think about what you have written. If you read at normal speed, you will not give your eyes and mind sufficient time to spot errors.
  5. Read aloud when you are alone. Reading aloud encourages you to read word by word. This is rather strenuous and almost impossible for most people who need to read hundreds of pages. However, it is effective when you find a sentence, paragraph or argument difficult to understand. Besides, any statement that you find difficult to understand will most certainly also confuse and frustrate those who read it but did not write it. It might even be an indication of plagiarism. Therefore, such sentences, paragraphs or arguments should be reformulated, motivated, explained or omitted.
  6. Role-play and “predict”. Especially procedures can be tested by simulating them. You should also try to foresee how your study leader will react to what you have written. It would be irresponsible to submit work that you know is not good enough, especially if you know that the chances are good that the study leader will not be satisfied with it. You should also think how other readers will respond to your work. If you doubt that they will understand, agree with or like your arguments, you will need to change them or motivate them as well as you possibly can.
  7. Ask others for feedback. Asking a friend, your wife or husband, a colleague or a language editor to read your manuscript will let you get another perspective on your writing. A different reader will be able to help you catch mistakes that you might have overlooked, although people close to you might not always be completely honest and objective in their feedback.


Make use of appendices to provide the reader with evidence that substantiates arguments made in the thesis or dissertation but is too long to include in the body. Appendices can also explain long processes and provide additional and complete information on aspects that appear in the main text that are too long to include in a specific chapter or section. Appendices should be numbered.

A review checklist

It is unlikely that your study leader or any of the external assessors will use a checklist to assess your thesis or dissertation. They are mostly experienced academics and deficiencies in your work are likely to attract their attention. Even so, you can use a checklist to spot most of the deficiencies that they might find.

Presentation of the thesis or dissertation

Dissemination is the process by which you communicate your thesis or dissertation, its findings and recommendations, to other potentially interested parties. You might need to present your findings to the following possible interested parties before and after you have submitted your thesis or dissertation for graduation purposes:

  1. within your organisation,
  2. to meetings where people from similar organisations and fields of interest gather,
  3. to your union branch,
  4. to professional associations,
  5. to a local adult education group, and
  6. at national or international conferences.

There are also various formats in which you might present your work, for example as a lecture (or series of lectures), at a seminar, at a workshop, etc. Whichever format you adopt, you will need to give some thought (and practice) to how you present, particularly if you have not done this kind of thing before.

Really confident and eloquent speakers can just sit or stand and talk for however much time is needed or available; or, at least, they seem to be able to do so. Most of us, however, need supports of some kind or another.

The days of ‘chalk and talk’ seem now long gone, and even overhead transparencies are already old fashioned. The more dynamic speakers can still work wonders with a flipchart and pens, scribbling down ideas and issues as they arise. PowerPoint presentation is currently in fashion, but you should be careful not to overdo it or to use it incorrectly, for example by writing everything on slides and then reading off from them. Whatever form of presentation you adopt, planning and practice will be necessary.  


The title of your thesis must be clear, short, and relevant to the topic of your research.

You should personally proofread the manuscript for your thesis or dissertation.

Check for grammar and typographical errors.

Make sure that you meet the technical and editorial requirements of the university.

You should have your manuscript language-edited.

You can use dedicated computer software and a checklist to proofread your manuscript.

The following guidelines can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your proofreading:

  1. Find out what errors you typically make.
  2. Learn how to fix your common errors.
  3. Take a break.
  4. Leave yourself enough time to review what you have written.
  5. Read aloud when you are alone.
  6. Role-play and “predict”.
  7. Ask others for feedback.

Check that you use appendices to substantiate arguments, explain long processes and to provide additional information.

You should disseminate your thesis or dissertation to other potential and real interested parties.


This is the last of the 109 videos and articles on research methodology that I made and posted.

I will now prepare a ten to twenty question test on each video.

Those of you who watched the videos on the Mentornet online platform ( can do the tests at no additional cost. You can repeat the tests as many times as you wish and, once you have successfully completed all 109 tests, you will automatically be issued with a Mentornet Proficiency Certificate in Research Methodology.

Study leaders and lecturers who are in the know will know that you not only worked through the entire research process on master’s and doctoral level, but also that you understand the concepts and processes.

You can also gain access to the videos for free on YOUTUBE. However, here we post only one video per week.

Also, you will, unfortunately, not be able to do the tests if you did not watch the videos on the Mentornet online platform.

Enjoy your studies.

Thank you.

Continue Reading

ARTICLE 108: Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Reviewing the Thesis or Dissertation Part 2 of 3 Parts

Lifestyle, study. Beautiful girl with a book

Written by Dr. Hannes Nel

Do you think it will be easy to disprove or improve upon existing knowledge and theories?

And if your ideas are good or perhaps even brilliant, is it necessary to pay attention to trivial matters such as spelling and grammar?

Is it necessary to have your thesis or dissertation language edited if English is your first language?

I discuss reviewing the relevance of your research arguments and language usage in this article.

Relevance of ideas in the literature

A thesis or dissertation cannot apply to every possible field of study. Furthermore, research should be placed within the context of the general body of scientific knowledge, and you will need to show where your report fits into the picture. This is especially important in research on doctoral level because of the requirement to develop new knowledge or the widening of existing knowledge.

You cannot even start doing research without having an idea that you would like to investigate. Some students find this first step rather challenging. However, creative students mostly do not see this as a challenge. Almost any event or even physical object can trigger an idea for a research project. The difficulty or ease of a research project largely depends on how accessible information on the topic is. You can complete a research project quickly and with little effort if information is easy to find. However, it is mostly the difficult projects, where information is sparse or hard to gain access to, that mostly pose problems to be resolved through research. These are often also the topic in which research is needed the most.

You should indicate what the purpose of your study is early in your thesis or dissertation. On doctoral level you should do this in your research proposal already. Once your purpose with the research is clear, you also need to link what you have in mind with existing knowledge and research previously done. If relevant, you should also point out what, in your opinion, is wrong or flawed in current knowledge and philosophy. Such flaws can often serve as a motivation why the research that you wish to do is important and relevant.

You may feel the need to challenge previous research and its findings, in the event of which you should carefully review the studies that have led to the acceptance of those ideas. You may also now already point out why you disagree with previous research and then embark on your investigation to prove a hypothesis or problem statement or solve a problem question.

You might have discovered that previous researchers disagree about a certain topic, event, procedure, phenomenon, philosophy, value system, etc. Previous researchers might also contradict one another in their findings and resulting points of view.

It might be your intention to study a particular topic further in the hope of finding evidence that would support one of the opposing points of view, or even evidence that would show that a completely different point of view is correct. You should already focus your initial literature study on the collection of data that would support your hypothesis, problem statement or problem question. It might be necessary to briefly state the research supporting one view, then summarise the research opposing it or supporting a different view, and finally suggest the reasons for the disagreement.

Your summary of existing literature should contain sufficient information to serve as a foundation of your further study, and to serve as a valid and accurate account of the point of view that you disagree with. Although it should not be so long that it creates the impression that you are supporting the stance, it should also not be so limited that you misrepresent the findings of previous researchers.

You should also mention literature that you consulted, that is sufficiently balanced to show that you have a good understanding of the previous work, without denying you an opportunity to improve on what you consider as flawed, insufficient or false knowledge. The sources that you consulted should be included in the bibliography at the end of your thesis or dissertation, and the review of the literature should include only sources that you used and that have relevance to your research.

Researchers often wonder what comes first – theory or ideas. Some feel that ideas should be based on theory while others feel that theory originates from ideas. Both arguments probably hold some truth. Especially research on Ph. D. level should be founded on existing theory and result in new theory, thereby creating a spiral of growth in the knowledge at our disposal in a particular discipline.        

Reviewing language usage

You should have your thesis or dissertation language edited. Most students will be able to check their own work, especially because the study leader in such an instance should focus on the content and not on language proficiency, unless the thesis or dissertation is one on languages.

Proofread your thesis or dissertation and have it language-edited at least once before submitting it for final assessment. Every word needs to be checked carefully. Spelling checks on computer do not identify all spelling errors. For example, if you misspelled “with” as “wit” the computer will not pick up the error because “wit” is also an English word. Also, errors in the spelling of names will not be indicated. Make a special check of the correct syllabic division of words at the end of lines if words have been split between lines. And of course, you must check for grammar and syntax errors.

You may use the services of a professional language editor. Even so, it is a good idea to also ask a friend, colleague or family member to go through the thesis or dissertation.

You should check the spelling of unusual words in an authoritative dictionary. For questions of punctuation, capitalisation, hyphenation and abbreviation, reference should be made to a recognised text of English language usage. Word processing software makes light work of much of the careful checking necessary in the draft thesis or dissertation.

A spelling checker will detect most (but not all) spelling and typing errors while the find and replace facility helps to achieve consistency as, for example, in replacing all z spelling by s (U.S. versus U.K. English) or ensuring that words like programme (or program) are spelled consistently throughout the thesis or dissertation.


It is almost always necessary to articulate academic research to the context of scientific knowledge.

You need to know what you are hoping to achieve with your research before you can start conducting research.

Once you know the purpose of your research, your next challenge is to collect and analyse relevant data.

You should use current knowledge as the foundation upon which to build your research.

You might regard it necessary to critically analyse current knowledge and theories.

You must acknowledge the literature and other data sources that you consulted.

You should have your thesis or dissertation language edited.

And you should check for:

  1. Spelling and typing errors.
  2. Syllabic division of words at the end of lines if words have been divided between lines.
  3. Grammar and syntax errors.
  4. Punctuation, capitalisation, hyphenation and abbreviation.
  5. Consistency.


It is often necessary to analyse existing knowledge and theories critically to develop new knowledge.

However, guard against underestimating the quality of the research done by academics in the past.

And your embarrassment will be further compounded if your thesis or dissertation is full of language errors.

Enjoy your studies.

Thank you.

Continue Reading

ARTICLE 107: Research Methods for Ph. D. and Master’s Degree Studies: Reviewing the Thesis or Dissertation Part 1 of 3 Parts


Hello I am Hannes Nel

I discuss the review of the thesis or dissertation separately to ensure that the review process receives the attention that it deserves and is not swamped by other, technical aspects of academic research.

However, keep in mind that the review process is part of writing the thesis or dissertation.

Review is a task that you will continue throughout the duration of writing your thesis or dissertation. It begins with checking if the topic of your choice still makes sense and if the thesis or dissertation satisfies the research problem, question or hypothesis. You also need to check carefully that the proposed study has not previously been undertaken. You would probably have done this already when you prepared your research proposal but might have discovered similar or overlapping theses or dissertations while collecting data for your research. This is especially important in the case of doctoral studies, where you are supposed to contribute to the currently available knowledge in a particular field.

Once you are satisfied that there is a need for your research, you still need to check that the literature study that you did satisfactorily serves as a solid theoretical foundation for your investigation. You could not have researched a topic without gaining a good measure of knowledge and understanding of the discipline. If necessary, this might be your last opportunity to improve the theoretical foundation of your research. 

The purpose of a review

There are many different review methods used with different purposes in mind. We already discussed the initial literature review which you should do when preparing or perhaps even before you prepare your research proposal. In this instance your purpose was to demonstrate to your readers that you have sufficient knowledge of the topic to do the research. You also needed to do the initial literature review to enrich your own knowledge and understanding of the topic of your research. It is true that you should have a good knowledge and, perhaps, experience in the field of your research. However, we can and should always learn. Besides, research on especially doctoral level is done to create new knowledge or at least to add to the currently available knowledge. This means that you will embark on an investigation of a topic that was not previously studied, at least not in terms of the purpose of your research. Even so, you will need current knowledge as your starting point.

Now that you are finalising your research, you will do the review to identify any gaps in your thesis or dissertation. Gaps can be simple typing, spelling or grammar errors; not acknowledging all references; incomplete information, arguments, conclusions or recommendations; flaws in the structure of the document or in the usage of research methodology; cognitive flaws; a problem statement, research question or hypothesis that has not been satisfactorily answered.

One useful way of thinking about the purpose of the review is to consider whether your aim is primarily aggregative or interpretive. Aggregative syntheses focus on summarising data, and they may often be organised around evaluating the effectiveness of various interventions or programmes. Interpretive syntheses are concerned with the development of concepts and the specification of theories that integrate those concepts. It involves generating concepts that have maximum explanatory value. The distinction between an aggregative and an interpretive synthesis is largely a heuristic one; the difference is one of emphasis. The sum of aggregative synthesis and interpretive synthesis is often generalisation.

A review should be based on a review question or questions, that is what you hope to achieve with the review. It works well to prepare criteria that you will use to review the thesis or dissertation. The criteria should, of course, help you to satisfy your review question. Your review question will probably be something like: “Has the purpose of the research been achieved?” Review criteria can be developed in the form of binary questions under specific headings. Here is an example of such criteria and questions:

Review question: Has the purpose of the research been achieved?

Criterion 1: Has the thesis or dissertation been professionally and logically structured?

  1. Is the study contextualised?
  2. Has the research methodology been discussed?
  3. Has a theoretical foundation been established?
  4. Etc.

Criterion 2: Has a suitable research method been used?

  1. Is the chosen research method suitable for the type of research?
  2. Has a data-collection strategy been given?
  3. Are the data collection tools suitable for the collection of valid data?
  4. Etc.

Criterion 3: Did you come to logical conclusions and did you make valuable recommendations?

  1. Has the status quo been analysed in sufficient depth?
  2. Have valid and valuable conclusions be drawn?
  3. Have viable recommendations been made?
  4. Etc.

The relevance of sources

Sources consulted must be relevant to the problem statement. We usually make use of primary, secondary and tertiary sources when doing research. Primary sources of information include the notes and reports prepared by the researcher who conducted an experiment in the case of quantitative research or investigated a phenomenon or event in the case of qualitative research. These are popularly called first-hand accounts and are captured in articles in professional journals, monographs, doctoral or master’s theses, assignments, interview reports and questionnaires,  original works (letters, diaries, eyewitness accounts, poems, novels, autobiographies) and other reports (proceedings of parliament, court testimony, reports of government departments and agencies, annual reports, minutes, etc.).

Secondary sources of information originate from primary sources. They are often simple relays, summaries, deconstructions or perhaps even reconstructions of information gathered from primary sources. Examples of secondary sources include translations, summaries, research reviews, abstracts, articles on the findings of a research project, discussions of research findings or procedures, etc.

Textbooks are the most used tertiary sources of information. Although they can be written from primary sources of information, most researchers need to fall back on secondary sources because of time, access and other constraints and because the original source material may be lost. Tertiary sources of information are, unfortunately, often old, but can still be useful in providing an overview or broad summary of a field and to obtain foundational information, such as definitions, principles, guidelines, historical developments, etc. They may even be acceptable as references because some textbooks become acknowledged as authorities. However, there is no substitute for consulting primary sources if these are available, and postgraduate work in most subject areas demands it.

Always keep in mind that, eventually, you need to go beyond the sources that you consulted. Especially in doctoral studies, you need to create new knowledge. This means that you will use existing knowledge to provide the readers of your thesis or dissertation with background information that should enable them to understand your arguments, conclusions and recommendations better, to confirm that the purpose of your research is valid. To achieve this, you will need to introduce the concepts and terminology that you will use. You also need to find a measure of support for your problem statement, question or hypothesis in the opinions and arguments of other experts who studied the subject before you.


The review process should be part of writing a thesis or dissertation.

You should continually be on the lookout for mistakes, flaws and opportunities to improve the quality of your work.

The purpose of a review should include to check if:

  1. you consulted primary, secondary and tertiary sources of data where applicable,
    • you satisfied the purpose of your research,
    • the topic of your research is still relevant and new,
    • there is a need for your research, and
    • all the gaps in your thesis or dissertation have been covered.

In the case of doctoral studies, you should also check if you achieved generalisation.

The review process should be based on criteria formulated as review questions.


Although you should personally review your thesis or dissertation, it would be a good idea to ask somebody else to also look at your work.

We are often ‘blind’ to our own mistakes.

Outsiders, for example family, friends, or colleagues are often more objective because they are not as emotionally involved in your ‘creation’ as you are.

Enjoy your studies.

Thank you.

Continue Reading
1 2 3 14