n South African Journal of Higher Education - Regulating research learning spaces : an ethical-juridical perspective from South African and Canadian contexts

Volume 29, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article explores the need for formal regulations within South African and Canadian higher education institutions' (HEIs) research assistantships in which postgraduate students acquire research knowledge and skills under the supervision of project leaders. While the relationship between research assistants and project leaders is similar to those in other workplaces, the educational and developmental aspects of research assistantships create a unique type of employment relationship that often is predicated on informal practices and subjective perceptions rather than on labour law or ethical standards. The absence of formal regulations, such as a code of professional and ethical conduct specific to research assistantships, therefore, may expose research members to unnecessary challenges. The goal of the article is to address the dearth of literature on legal and ethical standards related to the employment of postgraduate student research assistants and to draw attention to the benefits of formal regulations within research assistantships as research learning spaces.

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