Dr Karen Caister


Lecturer, Researcher





PhD (Agricultural Extension & Rural     Resource Management), UKZN (2013)

MAgric (Food Security), UKZN (2005)

BSc (Dietetics), University of Natal (1985)



Office Block:

Poultry Section Office

Ukulinga Research Farm







+27 (0) 33 260 6825

+27 (0) 33 260 5121





Karen returned to the academic environment in 2002 after 17 years of working in Faith Based Organisations with post-apartheid community building and wilderness based experiential learning for leadership development. Experience includes 7 years of administration, 7 years of teaching at tertiary level, and is now a permanent lecturer in the Agricultural Extension and Rural Resource Management Programme.  A deep interest in researching agrarian values and the people who farm arises from the role models of her childhood in deep rural Zimbabwe.


Research Interest 

De-colonising methodology (e.g.   Action learning and research for participatory agricultural extension; sustainable rural livelihoods (with a particular interest in livelihoods theory and asset-based development for stimulating agricultural activity and social cohesion); trans-disciplinary approaches in research and mixed methodology research; 


Teaching Areas

Sustainable Development, Rural Economic Systems, Project and Programme Design for Extension, Experiential learning and In-service Training for Extension; Research Projects for Extension and Rural Livelihoods.


Recent Publications

  • Caister, K., Dent, M., Green, J. (2013).  “I see it and it matters”: grounded theory embedded in participatory action research. In Goff S. (ed), From Theory to Practice; Context in Praxis.  Action Learning and Action Research Association, Australia.

  • Caister, K. (2012). “Learning to do, doing to live”. Transformational behaviour in commercializing traditional agriculture.  South African Journal of Agricultural Extension, Vol 40, 2012.

  • Caister, K., Green, J., Worth. (2012).  Learning how to be participatory:  An emergent research agenda. Action Research. Volume 10, also published online 4 August 2011. Available from URL:  arj.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav

  • Mulqueeny, J. and Caister, K.F. 2004. Sustainable Livelihoods, in Urban Reconstruction in the Developing World - Learning through an international best practice. Johannesburg: Heinemann: 260-284.

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