Mapping the field of research on African higher education: a review of 6483 publications from 1980 to 2019

Resource type
Journal Article
Authors/contributors
Title
Mapping the field of research on African higher education: a review of 6483 publications from 1980 to 2019
Abstract
Following a global trend, higher education (HE) in Africa has also become a complex enterprise, potentially demanding specific expertise in higher education research. However, despite this, there is a dearth of analysis into the state of research on African HE. This paper seeks to fill this gap by mapping and analysing African HE research. We undertake a systematic review of 6483 articles and books focusing on African HE published from 1980 to 2019 in indexed and non-indexed journals and book-publishers. We particularly examine the evolution of publications, the journals and book publishers, the authors’ affiliations, the researched countries, the publications’ thematic classification, the most prolific authors, and the most influential publications. Based on this analysis, we draw four main conclusions. First, research on African HE is a rather recent phenomenon or has witnessed a recent rise or renewal. Second, a few selected journals and book-publishers, particularly those with a strong regional or international reputation, dominate the field. Third, four communities of researchers are more represented: the community researching teaching and learning issues, the community focusing on structural transformation of HE, the community focusing on the internal organisation of HE and the community focusing on societal engagement of HE. Four, South Africa dominates the field both as home to most of the authors (including the most prolific) and the empirical field of most publications (including the most influential). If South Africa is excluded, African HE research is weak, but some communities are emerging, particularly in West, East and Southern Africa.
Publication
Higher Education
Volume
83
Issue
1
Pages
199-233
Date
2022-01-01
Journal Abbr
High Educ
Language
en
ISSN
1573-174X
Short Title
Mapping the field of research on African higher education
Accessed
18/04/2022, 11:21
Library Catalog
Springer Link
Citation
Zavale, N. C., & Schneijderberg, C. (2022). Mapping the field of research on African higher education: a review of 6483 publications from 1980 to 2019. Higher Education, 83(1), 199–233. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-020-00649-5