Showing posts with label early career researchers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label early career researchers. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Press Release: Information Skills - Competence in Research

 The Goethe Institut in Ghana is organising a 3-day information Skills workshop from August 23 - 25, 2016. It takes place at the Institut from 9am to 6pm daily.
This is a free workshop targeting individuals that deal with research on a daily basis: university tutors, writers, librarians, journalists, bloggers, among others.

Rouven Rech, a German documentary film maker, is the main facilitator for the workshop. The head of Library & Information Centre at the institute, Gudrun Widlok, is the coordinator.
Rouven will be teaching participants where and how to obtain information, evaluate and analyse it, and how best to use it. His unique skills as a documentary filmmaker would be greatly brought to bare.

This is the first part of a series of workshops the Institut is organising this year. The other workshops would be facilitated by the German journalist Nataly Bleuel, and the Wikipedia Group Ghana, respectively.

A participant of last year's workshop shared his experience here

For participation, please send a brief letter of motivation and an overview of your field of work to: info[at]accra.goethe.org

Friday, April 10, 2015

Final day of Information Skills Workshop: Internet Research

Rouven & Gudrun, with some participants
To get a complete sense of the need to get information from all angles necessary for a research, Rouven took participants through Internet research today.

Google -- for most researchers -- has become the go-to place. However the engine doesn't have all the answers to questions a researcher has.
Participants were also advised to turn off instant results occasionally so as to get exactly what they were looking for.
This guide shows how one can apply some operators in their queries on Google Search to help them get better results. Additionally, one can also take this self-paced Google Search online course. I highly recommend it. ;-)

Here are some links one can use to augment the information Google has to offer:


The 'perception' that an information found on the Internet must be correct needs to be watched. To test participants, Rouven gave a number of tasks on verifying information found online.
This. Was. Interesting.

Two resources one can consult to check domain ownership are WHOis.net and IANA WHOis Service.
Also read this blog post on how to verify a tweet.

This workshop has been fun, educative, and inspirational. It's my hope that my colleagues at the workshop -- and myself -- will go on to enrich our research careers, by applying all that we learnt.
As for you my fellow reader, I'm sure these posts of mine equip you as well to enrich your research approaches as well.
Thanks.

Related stories:

Day 2 of Information Skills Workshop: Field research

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Day 2 of Information Skills Workshop: Field research

Screenshot of the online survey for my research
Today began with participants of the Information Skills for Research workshop, at the Goethe Institute, undertaking their research (on the field): interviewing respondents, creating/designing questionnaires and online surveys, observing respondents, et cetera.

In the afternoon, participants gathered to discuss their research plan, detailing steps they took in gathering data, insights got from the field research, and the results got from the research.
From the discussions, participants understood some perks of research, while identifying mistakes they made, and how to rectify them next time.

Personally, the field research showed a courage I hadn't tapped -- to go out and interview people, getting to understand them by listening actively, and gaining insights that went to improve my research (because I kept an open mind).

My research was on the user experience (UX) in using ATMs in Ghana. I wanted to understand how users felt about the services their banks' ATMs provided, and whether users expected more services.
I also wanted to understand the sense of security users had in using the ATMs and whether they felt safe while making transactions. 
Moreso, I was bent on learning the ease of use of these ATMs by users.
This research interest has been on my mind for close to a year, but it became more pressing when I helped a Professor of mine to withdraw money from an Ecobank ATM, and was frustrated when the interface didn't show 'Current' as part of the accounts one can withdraw from. It rather had Checking, Savings, and Credit Card. This made me ask if the bank -- and indeed all banks in Ghana, had a manual they gave to first-time ATM users.

An insight I got also from my research while interviewing a staff at the Fidelity bank was the fact that users who didn't bank with the bank could withdraw money using the banks ATM! This is a cardless transaction that makes use of SMS. It's a form of mobile banking.

A detailed report of my research will be shared shortly. I need more inputs, so kindly take this survey if you've not. It will be greatly appreciated.

Related stories:

Who needs a card to use an ATM?




Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How do you tell stories through research?

Some answers got from the task given before the workshop began
The Goethe Institut in Ghana began a 3-day information Skills workshop today.
This is a free workshop targeting individuals that deal with research on a daily basis: .
Rouven Rech, a German documentary film maker, is the main facilitator for the workshop. The head of Library & Information Centre at the institute, Gudrun Widlok, is the coordinator.

To get a sense of research methods being used by participants, they were given a fact-finding task prior to the start of the workshop. These were:
  1. Ask the next seller how much 1 mango or 3 bananas will cost, and find out how the seller calculates the price.
  2. How much is a regular lunch in your area?
  3. How much does your neighbour(s) spend on electricity monthly?

This really set the tone for the workshop as participants discovered 'truths' about research they have been overlooking.

News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising. - Lord Northcliffe

Being a film maker with a journalism background, Rouven showed a movie, Adopted, that he'd produced with Gudrun. It showed how Ghanaians were opened to adopt lonely Europeans.
Yes, it's real.

Rouven advised participants to be courageous in their research endeavours, while taking note of the fact that research isn't easy. Based on responses to the task given prior to the workshop, Rouven emphasised the need for active listening, and open-mindedness to be important skills for any researcher to have.
An activity that users also undertook was to read the same story in different sources (mostly newspapers), to put to test, their understanding of the 5 Ws and 1 H of research.
He further went on to explain the different kinds of research available, the various impulses/triggers that informs a researcher's facts, and a checklist to consult when on a fact-finding mission.

The day ended with participants choosing topics of interest to them, and tasked to go on fact-finding missions, culminating in research proposals, and recommendations.
The results of their research would be presented and discussed tomorrow.

Did you get the impression I am a participant at this workshop?

Friday, March 28, 2014

CUCG academic staff embrace Mendeley

Dr. Darko introducing participants to the Mendeley platform

Remember the saying, "Publish or perish?" Well, it is one that is well known in academic circles.
Aside the products of a university (i.e. its students) being a good metric for ranking, research plays a major role too.

In its bid to continue being one of the foremost universities in Ghana, the Catholic University College of Ghana has instituted a 'Seminar series' where lecturers and researchers share insights from their research papers and other experiences, software, and other related academic issues.
On Wednesday, 26th March, 2014,  the CUCG academic staff was privileged to have Dr. Godfred Darko (Mendeley advisor for Africa), introduce them to the software platform.

Hands-on session 
Mendeley has both desktop and web-based interfaces that can be synced for effective collaboration. It allows a researcher to form his/her research group and collaborate on a project.
Mendeley has a web installer that also enables a researcher to seamlessly add any paper he/she finds interesting online, to his/her library.
Another cute, yet powerful feature of Mendeley is how it integrates with Microsoft Word, thus making citations and bibliography insertions in a research paper painless. One can choose any reference style of choice.
Read more about Mendeley from their website, and watch some videos on its use here.

In all, the training session went well. It is a good step in the right direction, and I hope mentoring sessions are held for early career researchers, to build a community that seeks to come out with solutions that would help improve the lot of the community -- and country -- we find ourselves in.