Original Research

Methodology and theory in a rural ECD research project: Capturing Mogwase in ‘becoming’

Sonja van der Vyver
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 2, No 1 | a26 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v2i1.26 | © 2012 Sonja van der Vyver | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 2014 | Published: 01 July 2012

About the author(s)

Sonja van der Vyver, North-West University, South Africa

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Conducting research on early education development at rural sites in South Africa is challenging. This is partly because it is difficult to capture the vast array of factors that impact on the lives of people in rural communities. In this article the author reports on some of the difficulties, showing how cultural historical and activity theory (CHAT) can be used as a lens in a participatory action research (PAR) project. The author argues that far from being a negative by-product of development, tension, if managed effectively, could be harnessed as a powerful driving force of change and transformation. The article shows what a daunting task it can be for a researcher to make sense of such a process of transformation, especially amidst the seeming chaos of conflicting voices, dichotomous forces and strong interactions active between the people and aspects within such a situation. Referring to a recently completed study in a rural settlement community, the article concludes that the use of a theoretical framework, such as CHAT, as a heuristic tool, could be valuable in helping researchers make sense of the often complex dynamics of early childhood education development within the specific context of rural community life.


rural early childhood development (ECD); participatory action research; community education; cultural historical and activity theory.


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Crossref Citations

1. The everyday experiences of early childhood caregivers: Challenges in an under-resourced community
Adri Vorster, Ashleigh Sacks, Zaytoon Amod, Joseph Seabi, Anwynne Kern
South African Journal of Childhood Education  vol: 6  issue: 1  first page: 9  year: 2016  
doi: 10.4102/sajce.v6i1.257