We are CREDO, the Centre for Research on Democracy based at the Department of Political Science, Stellenbosch University (SU). As the successor to the Transformation Research Unit (TRU), CREDO has inherited an international team of academics and data partners representing more than a dozen prominent institutions across the world. Our mission is to continue our globally well-recognised comparative research on new and established democracies while building a leading national centre for the promotion of democracy and debates on major challenges it faces in South Africa, in the region, and in the world.
The data hub and outreach programme have been created with two aims in mind:
• Introducing our partners’ global data to local students
• Training the next generation of researchers and civic leaders in South Africa through the offered free online guide to the study of democracy
The Data Hub will enable African lecturers and students to search through our partners’ holdings, and will contribute to TRU’s own data collections meant for public use. In addition, our partners will each be able to disseminate information about their activities and data utilisation on the respective pages of our Data Hub’s website to promote themselves further on the African continent. The second step will see the conclusion of framework cooperation agreements with all our partners and the mapping of future joint activities, such as teaching courses and workshops, as well as exploring novel methods and technology in analysing and understanding data in the digital age.
To fully utilise the potential the global network holds to contribute to the development of scarce skills in the area of empirical research in South Africa and further afield we have created an Outreach Programme. Our free online study guide is an on-line help tool in the form of a systematic tutorial that can be accessed on the pages of our newly created website. The main objective thereof is to serve as an intermediary outreach device to link-up with lecturers and students at historically disadvantaged universities (HDUs), which remain largely outside mainstream global data grids and academic networks. The “Roadmap” will offer users an overview of what democracy is and how it functions, and will demonstrate how democracy can be studied empirically.