STS in Africa: Data

This essay answers the analytic question: “What does the analyst say about their own data practices and responsibilities?Most of the STS work in Africa does not grapple directly with questions of data (Biruk 2018, Tichenor 2017 and Bezuidenhout 2017 are a few exceptions). Even of those that study data practices, I did not find examples of scholars who have published their own qualitative data in digital or reusable formats amongst the annotated set (some scholars have published small excerpts from their data, e.g. photographs or block quotes from interview data, or the survey instruments of those studied). The most common noted practice was reflection on methods used to collect data for the project (e.g. Foster 2017; Coban 2018). Many also discussed the unique demands and responsibilities of “science” to address societal challenges, especially challenges faced in African contexts (e.g. Okeke 2011; Pollock 2014). Citing specific interviews in endnotes (i.e. linking narrative to a particular interview) was also done by more than one scholar within the annotated set (Foster 2017; Biruk 2018) but does not yet seem to have become a mainstream practice.

This essay is part of a broader orals document by Angela Okune querying Science and Technology Studies in Africa. Sub-essays within the orals document can be accessed directly through the following links: Discursive Risk; Deutero; Meta; Macro; Micro; Nano; Techno; Data; Eco.

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July 31, 2018