Tackling the behavioural antecedents of knowledge production: research culture, behavioural intentionality and proactive agenda setting by scholars in Africa

by Bill Buenar Puplampu

01 Apr 2021
Journal of the British Academy
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Number of pages
32 (pp. 183-213)

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Abstract: This article advances the view that the conversation around repositioning Africa’s place in knowledge production requires a critical examination of the actions, behaviours, and institutionalised agendas antecedent to and concomitant to producing credible knowledge. The article explores this issue by bringing together three interrelated themes: the behavioural aspects of knowledge production with respect to organisational and research culture; the research and writing posture of academics in African institutions; and the need for deliberate and intentional agenda setting by scholarly associations in Africa.

The ‘fight’ for Africa’s place in producing relevant knowledge must be three pronged. While there are historical dogmas that have internationally conspired to delegitimise indigenous propositions, there are also institutional barriers in-country (such as poor research/educational policy) which hinder the development of strong research prospects. Finally, research behaviour is necessarily a consequence of behavioural intention; such intention is a consequence of attitude towards and subjective norms about research. These must be tackled from a behavioural standpoint. This article therefore suggests means by which scholars and relevant institutions in African countries may reclaim and possess their own knowledge agendas and, as it were, ‘tell their own story’.

Keywords: Knowledge production, Africa, behavioural, research culture.

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 9, supplementary issue 1 (Repositioning of Africa in Knowledge Production: Shaking off Historical Stigmas).

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