Research Preparation Report

Subject: Economics
Type: Exploratory Essay
Pages: 9
Word count: 2424
Topics: Economic Inequality, Unemployment


The research preparation report will have different sections that include the research questions that will form the basis of the study, the aims, purpose, context, justification of the study, methodology, structure, and the timeline of the research. 

Research questions

The research will major on four main questions that it will use to define the direction taken by the study in achieving its goals. 

  • Is there a rise in youth unemployment in South Africa since 2013?
  • What are the factors leading to the rise in youth unemployment in South Africa?
  • What are the effects of the increase in youth unemployment in South Africa since 2013?
  • What are the factors in place that aim at mitigating the adverse effects of youth unemployment in South Africa?


The purpose of the study is to analyze whether there is a rise in unemployment in South Africa since 2013, and the significant factors behind the rise. In regards to the aims of the research, the study aims at identifying the factors leading to an increase in youth unemployment in South Africa since 2013 and analyzes the effects of the situation in the country. Further, the study also aims at developing measures that would help in the mitigation of the issue and reduce the trend of youth unemployment in South Africa. 


The hypothesis that the study will use to define the direction taken by the study is that there has been an increasing trend in the rate of youth unemployment in South Africa, with the main issues leading to the trend being lack of proper skills to compete in the job market, and prejudice amongst the darker South African youths. Through the years, unemployment has maintained its position in the South African society as one of the issues affecting the society, considering that it has been on an increasing trend. The quality of education received in the universities also acts as a contributor to the increase in the rate of unemployment amongst the youths in South Africa. 


In Africa, the economy of South Africa is only second to Nigeria in terms of capacity. The World Bank ranks the country as an upper-middle-income economy, which further makes it the most industrialized country in the African continent. However, in the recent years, the country has been in an economic crisis, with its economy shrinking by 0.7% in the first quarter of 2017. Besides, the shrinkage was a follow up to a 0.3% drop in the fourth quarter of 2016. The failure of the growth of the economy at the rate in which young people join the labour market each year after graduating from college is the leading factor behind the high rates of unemployment amongst the youth considering that the economy is not sustainable. 

Youth unemployment in South Africa has been relatively high for many years, which underlines it as one of the significant socio-economic challenges that the country faces in the contemporary society. Ardington et al. (2016, pp- 461), in their cross-country analysis, notes that South Africa’s youth unemployment rates are one of the highest in the world, with their youth unemployment rate standing at about 60% in 2013 when compared to the youth labour force that stood at 3.1 million heads. An unemployment rate of about 60% is quite high in any context, especially when considering the negative factors that accompany the subject of unemployment. The study will look at the issue of unemployment in the context that Ismail and Kollamparambil (2015, pp- 308) describes in their research. In their study, the two authors view unemployment in a collective sense as including those actively searching for employment opportunities that also encompasses the discouraged work-seekers. 

The study will be engaging with some researches done on the matter, and analyze some of the argument made regarding the factors leading to the high unemployment rates in South Africa. One of the studies that will be of importance for the research is the one done by Altman, Mokomane, and Wright (2014, pp- 359). The other argument that will be part of the foundations for the research in understanding the underlying causes of the high unemployment rates in South Africa is the idea that most youths in the country, particularly those who hail from the darker race, lack employability skills that can make them highly competitive in the job market. The study that will help in the understanding of the issue is the one done by Burger, Berg, and Fintel (2015, pp- 82). The researchers argue that “the education policies in the country are the ones behind the high levels of unemployment amongst the youth population in South Africa,” which is quite a reasonable claim that can help in the development of the research and highlight the core factors behind the extreme figures regarding the unemployment of youths in South Africa. The authors also note that in many cases, the youths who fall under the unemployed bracket in South Africa, have low levels of education considering that most drop out of school and do not have the needed literacy, numerical and communication skills that are necessary for achieving success in the labour market. Further, the researchers note that the youths, especially those from the darker race, lack appropriate connections and strong job networks that can allow them to compete effectively in the job market and secure an employment opportunity. Their little work experience also makes them quite undesirable options for employers. 

Another argument that the research will use for the realization of the study’s aims is the idea brought in by Rodney (2010, pp- 15) that the Europeans are to blame for the current economic challenges in African countries. In his book ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa,’ Rodney argues that years of slavery, imperialism, and capitalism are the reasons behind the slow growth of African countries including South Africa. The argument will be of importance while looking at the issue of unemployment in a deeper sense. For instance, the way capitalism leads to the rise in unemployment in the country. Karl Marx’s labour process is another element that will be of core importance to the study in that it relates to the research question in the identification of the value in labour. Marx’s argument of alienation in the work process will be helpful in understanding why some groups face difficulties in the job market.

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Justification of the study

The study of focus can be of importance in many ways. One way in which the study can be critical is through assisting the government of South Africa to identify the main issues behind the increasing rates of unemployment amongst the youth population in the country. Considering that the youths represent the future generation, and are also the largest group in the South African society, it is imperative for the government of South Africa to address the needs of the population for the greater good. The study not only presents one of the significant issues affecting the group but also gives the solutions for mitigating those effects that can help in solving the problem on a long-term basis.  

The other way in which the study is critical is that it highlights the core issues in the education system of South Africa, and also pinpoints the prejudice that affects the availability of opportunities for the youth population in South Africa. Through understanding the need for the development of better education policies, and the need for ending the prejudice that some groups face in their quest for job opportunities, the government of South Africa and relevant personnel can use the information to develop better systems and address the prejudice in the society. Therefore, by helping the government to address the core needs of the youth population and identifying the need for better education policies, the study plays an essential role in the betterment of the country’s interest.

South Africa labour department

The youth unemployment rate in South Africa remains high even when factoring in the national average unemployment rate that stood at 34%. Racial prejudice in the country might be an underlying factor behind the high unemployment rate witnessed among the youth population in South Africa, with the youths from the South African native population being the ones most affected by the issue. Therefore, prejudice will act as one of the foundations that will assist in the understanding of the factors behind the rise of the rate of unemployment in South Africa. Between 2013 and 2017, the unemployment rate in South Africa has been quite unstable, as it has seen some periods of increase and decreased altogether. The main reason behind the trend, particularly the increase in the rate of unemployment amongst the youth can be attributed to many elements with racial prejudice being one of them. Thus, when considering the issues highlighted, it is easy to understand the need for conducting the study. 

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Research design

The study will employ descriptive research methods, particularly case study since it is the most appropriate method for the realization of the study’s aims and purpose. The research will also lean more on empirical research methods that will involve making observations, induction of resources, deduction, testing of the gathered information, and evaluating them to make proper conclusions regarding the matter of interest to the study (Yanow and Schwartz-Shea, 2015, pp- 6). 

Sources of information

The study will also draw upon various sources that will be both primary and secondary sources. Some of the primary sources that the study will use for the development of the research include South African government data for unemployment, South African labour statistics, and International Labour Organization (ILO) statistics on youth unemployment in South Africa. United Nations data on labour process South Africa, South African data and statistics of labour process, and South African labour process impact are the other primary sources that the study will employ. The books that will also comprise of primary sources for the study include ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’ by Rodney (2010, pp- 24). In regards to the secondary sources, the study will use books such as ‘From Capital’ by Marx (2005) that highlights Karl Marx’s labour process. 

Data collection methods

In regards to gathering the necessary data for the research development, the study will collect both qualitative and quantitative data. The tools that will be of use in gathering quantitative data include questionnaires and interviews. On the other hand, the methods for collecting qualitative data will consist of conducting in-depth one-on-one interviews, observation, review of documents, and using focus groups (Bryman, 2015, pp- 9). 

Ethical implications

The research will have an ethical implication in the sense that it will affect the ethical decision-making process regarding the need for addressing the prejudice that might affect the access of some youths to employment opportunities in the country. The other ethical implication of the study is that it helps in highlighting the complicated procedures and multiple actions needed for reducing the impacts of the issue of unemployment among the youth population in South Africa. 

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Leaving out the title page, the first part of the study will be an abstract that will consist of not more than 300 words, and will highlight the problem investigated by the study, the study’s purpose, the methods employed, the significant results identified, and a brief interpretation and implications of the findings.

The first chapter of the study will be the introduction. In the introduction section, the study will highlight the background of the study and pinpoint the core issues that led to conducting the study. The introduction section will also include the statement of the problem for the research, the research questions that will be the basis of the study, the aims and the purpose of the study (Maind and Wankar, 2014, pp- 99). The introduction section will also include the definition of terms that would be necessary for understanding some of the words used in the study. 

The second chapter of the study will be the literature review. In the literature review section, the study will analyze the various researches done on the subject of interest to identify the gaps in those studies and to garner the core concepts highlighted. Further, in the literature review section, the study will analyze the arguments made about the topic, which would help in defining the direction taken by the study. 

The third chapter of the study will be the methodology. The methodology section will highlight the research methods employed in the course of the research and their effectiveness in bringing the information needed. The methodology section will encompass different subsections that will discuss the research methods employed, the tools and techniques used for data collection, and an explanation of the sample size and the gathering of the samples (Maind and Wankar, 2014, pp- 99). The methodology section will also include a description of the statistical techniques employed on the data. 

The fourth chapter of the study will be the results and analysis section that will include the presentation of the results gotten during the methodology stage. In this section, the study will use a table to present the findings of the study, and also include some graphs. The displayed results will also contain some brief discussion about the results gained, as it will provide straightforwardness and continuity to the paper. The analysis of the results will involve using content analysis software for the analysis of the questionnaires (Groom and Allen, 2014, pp- 668).

The fifth chapter will be the discussion part. In the discussion section, the study will conduct some self-criticisms in regards to the methods employed, and the results achieved. It will also involve the identification of the areas that need further studies. 

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The sixth chapter will be the concluding chapter. In the conclusion section, the study will present all the core points discussed throughout the paper, without adding new information.

The recommendation chapter will be the seventh section of the study. Under the recommendation section, the study will highlight the elements that are necessary for the mitigation of the factors leading to high youth unemployment rates in South Africa.  

The reference section will be the last chapter, and it will contain the list of sources used in the study. The appendix will follow the reference chapter.

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  1. Altman, M., Mokomane, Z. and Wright, G., 2014. Social security for young people amidst high poverty and unemployment: Some policy options for South Africa. Development Southern Africa31(2), pp.347-362.
  2. Ardington, C., Bärnighausen, T., Case, A. and Menendez, A., 2016. Social protection and labour market outcomes of youth in South Africa. ILR Review69(2), pp.455-470.
  3. Bryman, A., 2015. Social research methods. Oxford university press.
  4. Burger, R., Berg, S. and Fintel, D., 2015. The unintended consequences of education policies on South African participation and unemployment. South African Journal of Economics83(1), pp.74-100.
  5. (2017). High Unemployment Rate an Economic Challenge in South Africa. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Jan. 2018].
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  7. Groom, C.R. and Allen, F.H., 2014. The Cambridge Structural Database in retrospect and prospect. Angewandte Chemie International Edition53(3), pp.662-671.
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  9. Ismail, Z. and Kollamparambil, U., 2015. Youth Unemployment Duration and Competing Exit States: What Hides Behind Long Spells of Black Youth Unemployment in South Africa?. African Development Review27(3), pp.301-314.
  10. (2018). Department of Labour — Department of Labour. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Jan. 2018].
  11. Maind, S.B. and Wankar, P., 2014. Research paper on basic of the artificial neural network. International Journal on Recent and Innovation Trends in Computing and Communication2(1), pp.96-100.
  12. Marx, K., 1975. Early Writings, trans. Rodney Livingstone and Gregor Benton (Harmondsworth, 1975), p.328.
  13. (2017). Economic Survey of South Africa 2017 – OECD. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Jan. 2018].
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  15. Resnick, D. and Thurlow, J. eds., 2015. African youth and the persistence of marginalization: Employment, politics, and prospects for change. Routledge.
  16. Rodney, W., 2010. How Europe underdeveloped Africa. Perspectives on Africa. Blackwell, Malden, MA, pp.439-449.
  17. Rowley, J., 2014. Designing and using research questionnaires. Management Research Review37(3), pp.308-330.
  18. (2017). Quarterly Labour Force Survey – QLFS Q3:2017 | Statistics South Africa. [online] Available at: [Accessed 31 Dec. 2017].
  19. (2017). The South African economy shrinks by 0,7% | Statistics South Africa. [online] Available at: [Accessed 31 Dec. 2017].
  20. (2017). South Africa – Economic Indicators. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Jan. 2018].
  21. Yanow, D. and Schwartz-Shea, P., 2015. Interpretation and method: Empirical research methods and the interpretive turn. Routledge.
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