Vignette Research goes to Africa

The Innsbruck Vignette Research group (IVR) has inspired the development of a vignette research network on the African continent.

The “Vignette research in Southern Africa” (VISA) network has recently been established at the University of Pretoria's department of Educational Psychology. Encouraged by the vast possibilities that the vignette research methodology offers, this network seeks to open up dialogue for social scientists to pursue new understandings of educational and psychological phenomena, as it presents in Africa.

“Vignette research embraces diversity, encapsulates complexity and transcends the distances between researchers and their participants”, says Prof. Irma Eloff, who leads the VISA-group. “We are excited about its transformative potential”.

Over the last decade Prof. Michael Schratz and PD. Johanna Schwarz, together with colleagues and co-researchers at the University of Pretoria, have established the IVR methodology as an innovative, empirical research methodology that prioritises in-depth explorations of the phenomena of learning.

Several South African students can attest to the contextually-relevant utility of vignette research in the African context.

Megan Swart, a master's degree student at Pretoria, uses vignettes in her study on the phenomenon of 'hope' in young student leaders during times of adversity. At the recent Postgraduate Student Webinar in the Department of Educational Psychology, she won the “Best Methodology” award for her vignette study.

Wietske Boon, a PhD-student in early childhood education, recently completed the first doctoral degree that uses the IVR methodology at UP. She investigated the social-emotional experiences of three-year-olds in diverse language settings. “This study induces seminal work for early childhood development”, read one of her external examiner reports. Wietske also participated as a vignette researcher in the first Teach4Reach webinar. Afterwards, she wrote a blog on the experience of writing vignettes in an online environment: ‘Writing vignettes online’.

Rosa Modiba is setting out to explore the transitions of grade 12 learners into tertiary education in her doctoral work. She is excited about the opportunities afforded by vignette research for her study.

Researchers and postgraduate students who are interested in VISA-network membership may enrol here: VISA network