A comparative quality of life survey in Elsies River and Basuto QwaQwa

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This thesis is concerned with developing a method for determining the Quality of Life of a group or community in quantitative terms. The method devised is aimed at providing decision-makers with a useful tool when allocating public funds. The method involves setting critical values for indicators and then applying a mathematical formula, in order to standardise information gathered from several different sources. A value for the indicator of a particular group or community is thus calculated. This procedure made it possible to compare data from these different sources. Arising out of this the values for individual indicators were aggregated to produce indices evaluating the Quality of Life, which are in a form that may be readily used by decision-makers. Surveys were run in Elsies River, a coloured suburb of Cape Town, and in Basuto QwaQwa, a homeland in the Orange Free State, using two questionnaires. The results were computed and the method developed here used to compare and aggregate the data. Other sources of data included opinions from experts and objective data concerning the two survey areas which were also standardised and aggregated. The results show that the method is pragmatic and could be useful to decision-makers. The standardisation provided the means for arriving at the indices which show how different aspects of the Quality of Life may be assessed. The results, however, are not absolute and could change through a process of negotiation: in fact this is an essential qualification.

Bibliography: leaves 199-204.