24 February 2021 | Story Compiled by the Teaching and Learning Division of the UFS Library and Information Services

Writing a good research report does not come naturally to most of us, and it can often be a daunting task if you have never done it before – which is often the reality that most students find themselves faced with only later on in their academic journey. Realising this gap, the UFS Library and Information Services (UFS LIS) adopted the Best Assignment project as one of its flagship projects in collaboration with faculties from all three campuses. The project is meant to inspire and motivate students to make an extra effort in producing high-quality assignments and harness their research skills at undergraduate level. This is also in line with the university’s research-focus strategy. 

Students prepare, write, and present their assignments.  When the project was first launched, only two assignments were received. In 2020, this number tripled when a total of 13 assignments were received. Among the 13 assignments, 12 were individual assignments and one was a group assignment. Two faculties participated in the project, namely the Humanities and Natural and Agricultural Sciences. Below is a summary and extracts from the students’ work.

Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences 
From the Department of Computer Science and Informatics: 
Lecturer: Rouxan Fouché
Group assignment titled:  Software engineering project 

The project outlined the deliverables for the Requirements, Analysis and Design workflows of the Unified Process for the UFS COVID-19 screening system. The UFS COVID-19 screening system serves to automate the process of screening campus staff, students, and visitors for COVID-19 symptoms before accessing the campus. The winners were

   (SG Hasset)                                              ( TM Mochaki)                 (RG Phuthi)


From the Qwaqwa Campus: 

Department of Zoology and Entomology
Lecturer: Prof Aliza le Roux
Seeqela Ntsibiseng: Temperature and light effect on moth activity/numbers

In this article, students investigated the effect of temperature and light on moth activity or numbers. There is scientific proof that moths are mostly active in warmer temperatures and in medium light pollution. The study was conducted at sites in the Free State, Gauteng, and KwaZulu-Natal. 

Mollo Retshedisitswe: The effects of ambient light and temperature on moth behaviour in different South African locations

Insects, the smallest, most diverse animals in the world, can be great biological indicators. Moths are one of the few insects that need to be conserved in order to inform us about the environment. This study investigates how moths are affected by ambient light and temperature in three locations in South Africa. The data was collected by observing the number of moths present at a light source – in this case a streetlight – at three hourly intervals for several days in April and May. 

Faculty of the Humanities
Lecturer: Prof Nyasha Mboti
Department: Health and Development Communication 
Modiehi Koti: Alcoholism/Alcohol Abuse: Sejake Square in Bloemfontein
“I chose to focus on this selected health issue because it is a big and serious issue in my community. Too many people have given up their lives. They live for alcohol, they drink every day, and neglect their families. My father was an alcoholic – growing up in a household where there is an alcoholic is not nice. He passed away of a liver problem because of alcohol. I do not want other families to go through what I went through, seeing a loved one destroy their lives because of drinking alcohol every single day. I do not want to see households break because of alcohol abuse.”

Mpusheng Isaac Manasoe: Femicide in South Africa: South African Communities
“Nothing much is being done to address issues of gender-based violence or femicide. Women have marched and protested as if this is a problem they need to fix, although they are the victims and men being the perpetrators here. This isn’t an issue that women can or must fix. Men are the problem here, not the other way around. We live in a society ruled and governed by laws and systems that embed beliefs such as men are ‘superior’ to women. Men need to start realising that their toxic behaviours aren’t normal just because their beliefs are enabled by laws and systems, as well as unstable psychological issues.”

Dimakatso Macu: Drug addiction, specifically nyaope, among lower income groups in the township surroundings – Tembisa

“I have chosen to focus on this selected health issue because it is one of the biggest problems in our country, South Africa. It affects so many young people and families who never actually know how to deal with that situation. Nyaope kills in so many ways – it does not only affect the person using it, but even the community at large. Criminal activities such as housebreaking, robbery, and rape are on the increase. The younger generation in the community may even be influenced to consume the drug. So, choosing this health issue meant more awareness on nyaope, which means that communities will know how to deal with this problem.”

Lilita Majokweni: Drug and Alcohol Abuse: Soweto, Gauteng
“I have chosen to focus on this selected health issue because of the effects it has on a person physically, mentally, and emotionally and how it affects the families of such people. Alcohol and drug abuse are a serious problem in South Africa, especially in Soweto, as Soweto has one of the highest violence and crime rates in South Africa related to alcohol and drug abuse. It is also affecting the youth, as they turn to drinking and drugs at an early age due to social peer pressure or due to family problems.”  

Mathapelo Api: Violent crime: Johannesburg, Alexandra
“I have chosen to focus on this selected health issue because violent crime in South Africa keeps increasing. Each day there is a new report on peoples’ deaths due to violent crime. Women and children are becoming the greatest victims. Also, the scarcity of jobs in South Africa is the reason I chose this issue, because an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. If people from Alexandra had jobs, they could afford to move out of their slums to find places with proper sanitation for them and their children. Poverty and economic stress are the most common daily problems that people of Alexandra have to deal with, which are the key reasons for crime.”

Nkosingiphile Mkhwanazi: Substance abuse: Western Cape, Cape Town
“I have chosen to focus on substance abuse as a health issue because the consumption of alcohol and medications has numerous adverse health effects. Firstly, the behavioural issues whereby people suffer from social problems, depression, suicidal thoughts, which sometimes leads to violence. Secondly, because it has killed many dreams for South African youths who abuse drugs. Thirdly, because I want this issue to be addressed in any possible way to avoid teenagers from dropping out of school. The last reason why I have chosen this is because I have been a victim of substance abuse at an early age; fortunately, I found help and I was able to proceed with my dreams.” 

Department: Art History 
Lecturer: Johanet Kriel-De Klerk
Sienta Human: Leora Farber and the Translation of the Classical Still Life into Commentary of South African Society

Department: Political Science 
Lecturer: Prof Theodor Neethling
Jana de Kluiver: The Political Economy of Nigeria as an Emerging Power

This essay attempted to establish whether Nigeria’s political economy is of such a nature that the country can be considered an emerging power in the global community. The research methodology used in this essay consists of a literature review that includes the use of internet articles, books, reports, and academic articles. Firstly, a conceptual clarification with relation to political economy was provided. Afterwards, Nigeria’s political economic history was discussed in an attempt to provide the analysis with context. Thirdly, a study was done on the strengths and weaknesses in Nigeria’s political economy, followed by a critical analysis of Nigeria’s current political economic prospects, taking into account the effects of COVID-19 and how it has influenced Nigeria’s standing in the international political economy.'


Department: Political Science (POLS6846)
Lecturer: Prof Hussein Solomon
Lumanyano Ngcayisa: A critical discussion of the phenomena of rentier states: The case of Qatar
The topic, ‘A critical discussion of the phenomena of rentier states: The case of Qatar,’ provides a guide to the study of rentierism as a theoretical concept while focusing on one case in the Middle East. In an ever-changing global economy, rentier states are challenged with diversification (adapt or die), which raises the question of their sustainability. The article investigated the economic implications of the rentier states after noting both contributions and limitations of rentierism. The article provided insight into the phenomenon of rentier states while providing a critical discussion of the functionality, highlighting economic implications on these economies and their citizenry, particularly Qatar's case.

Department: Language Practice
Lecturer: Dr Marlie van Rooyen
Calista Lambrechts: Discuss the contributions of scholars that have included non-western practices in the theoretical realm of translation and interpreting studies. 

“Translation and interpreting have been around since the beginning of human history, but Western theories and Eurocentric stereotyping seemed to have become the dominant view in this practice. This Western perspective has spread, “permeat[ing] the world” and seeping into countless cultures (Tymoczko, 2006: 13). By following these Western theories and examples of translation and interpreting that have been dominating the ideas, concepts and perceptions related to Translation1 for so long, our view is limited, and the study of translation theory is greatly restricted, keeping us from exploring and looking at all the other nooks and crannies of the world. We have been so used to this Western way of things, that many of our own studies and examples shows us just how powerful a hold these theories of the West have had.”


Sponsors for the Best Assignment Project include SABINET, Protea Books, Van Schaik Bookstore, LexisNexis, EBSCO, and Exclusive Books. 

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