The purpose of the study was to assess the study designs and methodological approaches of published works on disability in South African higher education institutions from 2020 to 2021. A systematic review was performed as a method to achieve this. The reporting of this systematic reviews was guided by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses standards. Electronic searches of Bielefeld Academic Search Engine, EbscoHost, ScienceDirect, Scopus and Wiley Online Library were conducted of electronic works published in English from January 2020 to December 2021. Publications of empirical research on disability in any South African higher education institution where data were collected during COVID-19 were included. Non-peer-reviewed publications, which explicitly indicated that data were collected before March 2020, did not have a South African higher education institution as a study site and were a desktop-only research or conceptual papers were excluded. Three studies were included ultimately. Ten elements were chosen for analysis based on the research purpose. The findings show that disability research has predominantly used qualitative designs and methods; an exploration that involves people with disabilities throughout the research process is limited and the inclusion of researcher positionality is limited. Arguably, this study is the first systematic review of empirical studies on disability in South African higher education since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results support the need for a trajectory towards the use of more diverse research designs and methods.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.