Part 1: Introduction

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Connecting reality to research

The object of social science research is to study the society to gain insights into specific societal problems. Among the major problems facing the South African society today are crime and weak gender empowerment. To study such concrete issues of relevance to a society it is necessary to establish a link leading from the issue to concepts to research questions and to data sources, as shown in the examples below:

Issue: crime

  • Concepts: state capacity/state strength
  • Question: The state, with its monopoly on organized public violence, has the responsibility to fight crime. How many South Africans have confidence in the police, the armed forces, and the courts?
  • Data source: WVS South Africa: Various waves

Issue: gender empowerment

  • Concepts: gender equality
  • Question: How politically empowered are women
  • Data source: V-Dem: Women Political Empowerment Index, v2x_gender

Next up:
The road to democracy in South Africa