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About the project

What is the People Behind the Papers project?                                                          

We want to show the human face of research and to start a conversation on what it is like to be a practising researcher in psychology - and related fields - in South Africa today. We do this through the medium of interviews, which we publish as online videos and transcripts. We hope, in due course, to publish some of the transcripts in book form.


  • To show what research in practice is really like, beyond the theoretical confines of methodology textbooks.

  • To help define, discover and represent uniquely South African and African traditions in social science research

  • To convey the human element of the field to outside audiences and to research neighbours.

Who have you interviewed?

Lots of people! And we plan on interviewing many more. To see the interviews go to people behind the papers interviews, people behind the dissertations interviews or people behind the people behind the papers interviews.

How do you choose who to interview?

We make use of a "snowball" process, i.e. we ask interviewees (and anybody else) to suggest who we should interview next. We don't have hard-and-fast criteria, but in general we are looking for people who have done (or are doing) important or interesting work in South African social science. The project started in the Department of Psychology at the University of South Africa, so the bias is towards researchers in psychology, but we want to broaden the scope to other related disciplines. We welcome suggestions!

How can I get involved?

See our guidelines for volunteers.

The Team

    Eduard Fourie (University of South Africa) (fourime@unisa.ac.za)

    Martin Terre Blanche (University of South Africa) 

    Puleng Segalo (University of South Africa)

    Sydney Butler (University of South Africa) (butlesl@unisa.ac.za)

    Desmond Painter (University of Stellenbosch) 

    Khonzi Mbatha (University of South Africa) (mbathk@unisa.ac.za)

    Angelo Fynn (University of South Africa)

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