Influence of Student Research Mentoring on Research Publications Output During COVID-19 at One Higher Education Institution in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

Nontuthuzelo Cekiso-Smith ORCID iD, Neliswa Gqoli-Mtengwane ORCID iD & Israel Kariyana ORCID iD

Issue: Vol.3  No.11 October 2022 Post COVID-19 Special Issue  Article 22 pp.293-307
DOI: |   Published online 7th November 2022.
© 2022 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (


The study explored the influence of research mentoring on research publications output during COVID-19 in a selected Higher Education Institution (HEI) of the Eastern Cape Province as the incessant poor publications from the dissertations and theses of postgraduates upon completion of their studies prompted the researchers to want to understand the nature of the mentorship experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study was situated within an interpretivist paradigm which aided in the interpretation of the facts and adopted a case study design within a qualitative research approach. The participants for the study comprised eight research supervisors, and eight master’s and doctoral students purposefully selected as information-rich participants. Semi-structured interviews were utilised to collect data. Data collected were analysed thematically. Findings of the study revealed that there was a dearth of research mentoring by research supervisors that adversely affected research publication output in the rural HEI, especially during the COVID-19 era. Additionally, supervisors struggled with online supervision, which strained the relationship between supervisors and their students. Furthermore, the study revealed that both supervisors and students lacked skills and knowledge of paper writing. The study recommends that there should be a call for student mentoring and development in research seminars, article writing seminars, and writing for publication workshops to develop and promote academic success in higher education institutions. It is anticipated that a strengthened system of mentoring and development, which is cognizant of COVID-19, will help novice writers comprehend articles published through the holistic guidance of their mentors rather than mentors leaving them to sink or swim.

Keywords: COVID-19, Higher education institutions, Mentoring, Postgraduate students, Research output

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Nontuthuzelo Cekiso-Smith is a Teacher Development Specialist at the Directorate of Learning and Teaching, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha Campus, South Africa. She is a PhD Candidate in the same institution. Her research focuses on Education.

Dr. Neliswa Gqoli is a Lecturer at the Department of Adult, Foundation Phase and Education Foundations Education, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha Campus, South Africa. She holds a PhD in Early Childhood Development from the University of Free State, South Africa. Her research focuses on Early Mathematics and Technology.

Dr. Israel Kariyana is a Lecturer at the Department of Continuing Professional Teacher Development, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha Campus, South Africa. He holds a PhD in Educational Management. His research focuses on Mathematics Education, Educational Management and Organisational effectiveness.

Cekiso-Smith, N., Gqoli-Mtengwane, N. & Kariyana, I. “Influence of Student Research Mentoring on Research Publications Output During COVID-19 at One Higher Education Institution in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa,” E-Journal of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences 3, no.11 (2022):293-307.

© 2022 The Author(s). Published and Maintained by Noyam Publishers. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (