Before starting any primary research, I first had to define my problem through the use of secondary research and submit a project proposal that would outline - in detail - the specific problem I would be looking at.
When researching the problem, I found two studies that showcased the extent of the problem of illiteracy in South Africa.
The National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU) conducted a national survey on the state of our literacy, with the assessment focusing on Grade 4 pupils. The assessment showed that 29% of the pupils were completely illiterate, suggesting that they could not even pronounce the words, never mind actually understand the meaning behind them.
The IEA, an international cooperative of national research institutions, government research agencies, scholars and analysts working to evaluate, understand and improve education worldwide, conducted an international assessment around the world, the Progess in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) to get a benchmark on the state of literacy around the world, with the assessment also focusing on Grade 4 pupils. In Grade 4, pupils should start being able to read and comprehend the meaning of words. The assessment showed that 78% of the Grade 4 pupils in South Africa could not read with meaning, an extremely alarming number considering that these children represent the future of South Africa.
After completing a detailed secondary research document, the project proposal (which can be found here), I defined the problem I was going to be looking into. That problem was :
I decided to help children between the ages of 7-10 (in the foundation phase), as I felt it was the root cause of illiteracy. If I could help children learn to read and write during the foundation phase, I would reduce the number of adults in the future that would not be able to read, thereby tackling both problems by alleviating the root cause of the larger problem.
With my problem set, I was then able to start focusing my attention on gathering primary research around the problem in KZN.
My primary research first lead me to a local no-fee primary school within Durban, Duffs Road Primary School. There I interviewed various teachers who educated children in the foundation phase. Below is some audio evidence of my research with these teachers.
I then decided to get another perspective on the situation of illiteracy, from the view of a company or organisation working to help alleviate the problem. This search lead me to a non-profit organisation called Shine Literacy. The organisation is based in Cape Town but they have volunteer programmes throughout the country, including a few in KZN. After contacting the main office, I was directed to Megan Viljoen who heads up a Shine Literacy Programme in Waterloo. The programme involved with Waterloo Primary School.
I accompanied a volunteer and visited the school to observe and investigate how the Shine Literacy programme works. While there, I interviewed Megan Viljoen and other Shine Literacy representatives working at the school. Through Shine Literacy I was also able to interview various teachers at the school. Below is some audio evidence of my research.
After gathering various primary research, of which the abovementioned was the most valuable, I then analysed the primary data I had collected and used this to produce Key Findings and a Key Insight. I was also able to adequately define my target audience which I segmented into primary target audience and primary target consumer.