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Trends in the theoretical and research methodological approaches applied in doctoral studies in information and knowledge management: an exploration of ten years of research in South Africa

M. A. Mearns

SA Journal of Information Management; Vol 10, No 4 (2008), . doi: 10.4102/sajim.v10i4.331

Submitted: 20 January 2008
Published:  20 January 2008

Abstract

The past ten years have seen the field of information and knowledge management develop and implement new and improved technologies. Because of the ease with which information is exchanged the contribution to information overload has increased exponentially and the need for information and knowledge management is more real than ever before. Research in itself is a science of knowledge creation that continuously evolves in line with newly developed theories and research methodologies. An investigation of the theories and research methodologies that doctoral theses, completed in South Africa, ascribed to over the past ten years were conducted. Search strings containing 'information management', 'knowledge management' and 'information and knowledge management' were searched within citation, abstract and subject fields. A sample of 30 theses from a possible 47 in the relevant population was identified. Qualitative and mixed methods research design was favoured, making use of case studies and surveys, but paying little attention to theoretical approaches or paradigms. The boundaries between disciplines are continuously re-defined, new disciplines evolve and traditional disciplines suffer under the pressures of changing problems of the world. The importance of research in the field of information and knowledge management being grounded in the most recent scientific thought is emphasized.

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Author affiliations

M. A. Mearns, Department of Information and Knowledge Management University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg South Africa, South Africa

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