Lindile L. Ndabeni

Research Fellow & Senior Lecturer
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Lindile is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Economic Research on Innovation (IERI) and an academic at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). His educational background is in English as Second Language, History, Education, Development Planning, Economic Geography and Entrepreneurship. At TUT he teaches research methodology at B-Tech and Master Levels and Sustainable Local Development at Master level.

The Research Methodology Course is intended to provide an in-depth examination of research methodology as a science and practice of producing knowledge. Accordingly, the course introduces students to useful concepts regarding the science of research. The course includes an understanding of conceptualization and development of conceptual frameworks that guide the formulation of research questions and the choice of research methodology. That is to say, the course serves as a foundational way of introducing students to the science and techniques of producing scientific knowledge.

An attempt is made to assist the students towards being able to write a proper research topic and sound statement of a research problem, carry out a systematic review of related literature, select method/s of collecting, analyze and interpret the research data. It is expected that students will understand how to produce a reasonable piece of research work and be able to read more advanced texts with better understanding.

Students are also expected to demonstrate mastery of challenging concepts and skills to read theory and research, demonstrate understanding of the content of what they read, and effectively apply and integrate that literature into writing academic projects of their own. Indeed, students are required to develop advanced capabilities that may not be needed in the undergraduate study; demonstrate a genuine desire to expand their knowledge and consequently contribute to knowledge production as scientists; demonstrate the ability to work independently; and grow as critical and independent thinkers.

More specifically, the course highlights a number of challenges in the teaching of research methodology:

  • The tension between pre-theoretical thought and theoretical thought.
  • The contention that reality is not an objective material.
  • Dealing with ambiguity.
  • Dealing with conflicting evidence.
  • Analysis of abstraction.
  • Understanding that science aims at general patterns.
  • Theoretical thought has structure.
  • Integrating perspectives from different and multiple levels.
  • Adopting a theoretical attitude.
  • The battle of world views.
  • Tension between generalization and specificities.

By contrast, the Sustainable Local Development course highlights a number of issues. One, that conventional approaches to local development have not been successful in solving the problems of poverty, unemployment, and development of human capabilities. Logically, there is a need to generate alternative approaches of development that are grounded on real geography of the localities of the developing world. Such approaches should address the legacy of the past which highlights itself through isolation, deprivation, poverty, inequality, and effects of the migrant labour system. Two, that sustainable local development should inter alia, Enhance the role of local government in local development; Help accelerate integration of isolated localities; Enhance democracy and democratic participation; and, Build human capabilities. That is to say, sustainable local development should go beyond criteria based on indices of per capita income as that often hides some realities that poor do not necessarily benefit from economic growth. It should include inter alia; Human development; Economic development; Political development; and, Social development. Three, that sustainable local development depends to a great extent on how knowledge is successfully generated and applied. That is to say, the changing context for local development points to a strong need to understand and adopt the innovation systems approach as an analytical framework. Indeed, the innovation systems approach recognizes the unique geography of the locality. Thus it facilitates the generation of relevant knowledge, provides access to knowledge, enables knowledge sharing, and emphasizes learning. Finally, the focus on local development is important as it contributes to deepening of democracy at local level and use of local knowledge for local development. This has further implications in terms of transforming the way local government operates. The course stresses an evolving process of local development that is truly embedded in local geography.

As part of competency building in government, in 2005-06 Lindile was seconded to the National Department of Science and Technology (Republic of South Africa) as director responsible for human capital.

His knowledge, expertise and research interests are in the following areas:

  • Rural Economic Development
  • Local Economic Development
  • Science and Technology for Development
  • Social Exclusion and Strategies for Social Inclusion
  • Agricultural Systems of Innovation
  • The Role of Local Knowledge in Local Development
  • Policy and Strategy Formulation
  • Entrepreneurship
  • The Teaching of Research Methodology
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