Undergraduate Inquiry-Based Research to Promote Sustainable Development Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities)


  • Indrani Hazel Govender Durban University of Technology, South Africa
  • Rajendran Perumal Pillay Mangosuthu University of Technology, South Africa




undergraduate research , inquiry-based learning, sustainable cities, SDG11, education


The global sustainability agenda provides the opportunity for higher education institutions to mainstream the Sustainable Development Goals into their programmes to contribute towards achieving these goals. Using an inquiry-based research approach, underpinned by constructivism, this study aimed to determine how research concepts and research skills can be integrated effectively into a first-year module through inquiry-based learning. First-year students at a South African university were assigned research tasks to analyse journal articles and compile a summative project based on observations in urban ecosystems. Using a mixed-methods approach, data were collected via online, structured questionnaires, reflective practice schedules and semi-structured interviews. Data were analysed quantitatively using descriptive statistics and supported by qualitative analysis of open-ended responses. Some of the findings included main skills developed, communication and social skills; main challenges experienced, finding a study site and working with a partner; the research task was relevant to career and society, and enhanced understanding of the module content. The integration of research at undergraduate level fostered environmental stewardship, positive career aspirations, motivation to pursue further research, and promoted problem-solving to real-world problems. It is recommended that universities support more undergraduate programmes to adopt inquiry-based learning within authentic research tasks.


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How to Cite

Govender, I. H. and Pillay, R. P. (2022) “Undergraduate Inquiry-Based Research to Promote Sustainable Development Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities)”, African Journal of Inter/Multidisciplinary Studies, 4(1), pp. 113–128. doi: 10.51415/ajims.v4i1.1025.