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Performance assessment of technical reports as a channel of information for development: the Lesotho case study

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dc.contributor.supervisor Stilwell, Christine, Andrew Kaniki
dc.contributor.supervisor Kaniki, Andrew M. Moshoeshoe-Chadzingwa, M. M. 2017-10-23T11:46:41Z 2017-10-23T11:46:41Z 2002-01-25
dc.description.abstract The study aims to assess performance of TRs as a channel of information for development in the Lesotho context. It concurrently evaluates how a specialized information unit of ISAS has performed in its obligation to devise adequate mechanisms for managing the report literature and meeting the development-related needs of users. In order to achieve that aim, the study contextualized development as a process, state, and condition and highlighted some development indicators for Lesotho. Agriculture and gender were selected as sectors of development. Global conferences, as one of the many development strategies that generate TRs heavily, were used as a benchmark. In the performance and impact assessment methodologies, case study techniques were applied with ISAS as a site and one unit of analysis. TRs on Lesotho were studied. Triangulation approaches were applied in sourcing data. The academics, information workers, government officials, NGOs and aid agencies based in Lesotho were surveyed. Research questions that guided the study centred on the productivity, distribution of TRs, their management by intermediaries, use, non-use and the effects thereon. Seven types of TRs feature in the development process, namely Academic, Project, Conference, Survey, Enquiry, Official and Special Committee Reports. TRs are produced at varying levels depending on needs and approaches to development by producers or commissioning bodies. Academic Reports are authored mostly by the academics. The Government, Aid agencies and NGOs produce widely through external consultants/experts, who utilize centres such as ISAS where commissioning bodies do not have information services. TRs productivity is high and diverse in Lesotho, but capacity to manage the output is seemingly low, and hence under-utilization results; ISAS’s out-dated mission, lack of, or limited resources and de jure national support in the form of acts and statutes affect the Institute’s TRs’ services. Production is gender biased, thus making for imbalance in reporting on development. Agriculture as a sector is heavily researched and reported about, with little or no commensurate benefits to the populace. Restricted materials are estimated at 30%, but most vi of the TRs are unaccounted for. Hoarding and poor records or information management leave a vacuum that leads to a duplication of previous studies and production. The study confirmed that TRs are required by all the surveyed groups. TRs are not of a transient nature even though they reach a peak of topicality and use at certain periods. Where the channel conveys factual data timeously, there are developmental benefits. Low or non-use is common where there are no specialized information services especially within the civil service. Such negative factors cause delays and infrequent currency, inadequate reporting and erroneous budgetary allocations, for example. Seemingly there is no clarity on what restricted, secret and limited materials mean. Major recommendations were made One concerned an integrated approach to managing the channel. This would involve preparing a Manual for the production of TRs which would clarify how to prepare them; for instance, the calibre of personnel/experts who should author reports, the conditions to be observed, the timeliness production, reliability of data used, and centres that would be acknowledged to then qualify for commensurate financial and other support. The other proposes that the envisaged National Research Council be given the powers to enforce the guidelines of the manual and related functions. The last recommends assigning to the documentalists for classified TRs, the role of managing classified items. Consideration should also be given to important issues raised in the study, being the role of ICTs, sectors of development to be attended to, training and networking in TRs. Further studies are also recommended mainly for the causes and effects of the closures of information services that managed TRs’ in southern Africa; longitudinal studies on the impact of non-use of technical reports in major sectors of development like Agriculture; comparative studies on the impact of specialized centres in the developed and developing countries. Further action is urged under the aegis of bodies like the Standing Conference of Eastern, Central and Southern African Librarians (SCECSAL), Standing Conference of National and University Libraries (SCONUL) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). en_ZA
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.subject technical reports en_ZA
dc.title Performance assessment of technical reports as a channel of information for development: the Lesotho case study en_ZA
dc.type Thesis en_ZA PhD en_ZA

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