Designing Workshops, Teaching Research Methods, and a Trip to the Farm

Chandni and Andrew have had quite a full week of teaching ARU. Chandni has been leading sessions in her course on Negotiations and Entrepreneurship that focus on workshop development and implementation. Moreover, Andrew has been facilitating a three day workshop on research methods and academic practice for the teaching and administrative staff at ARU.

On Monday, Chandni taught a class on how to develop a workshop for communities. The students designed workshops that focused on: improved farming techniques, promotion of health and how to form lending circles and women’s groups.

The students work in groups in Chandni’s class. 

“The activity went down very well and [on Tuesday] they will be leading their workshops for the rest of the class so I can put my feet up (I hope) and be a student learning from them!”-Chandni

On Tuesday, the students presented their workshops ideas. One student gave a presentation on health promotion workshop that focuses on malaria.

A student delivering a presentation on “promotion of health” and focusing on malaria.

Following the presentations on farming techniques, the students went into the farm where they participated in activities, such as mulching.

The students participate in activities on the farm.

On Monday, Andrew gave class on “Research Methods: How to design an Experiment”. In this class, Andrew introduced the basic elements of research methods: generating an appropriate research question, formulating hypotheses, and coming up with an appropriate experimental design. The lecture also covered more complex topics like quantitative vs. Qualitative methods, basic statistical analysis, and exploratory approaches.

The staff in Andrew’s workshop break into groups for seminar activities.

While the staff at ARU are involved in research activities, including researching agricultural practices to investigating the effects of information seminars on the number of women who participate in cervical cancer screenings, they have experienced challenges sharing information and data with other communities.

“It’s been an immensely rewarding experience to see the attitudes of some of the staff go from ‘I can’t do research!’ to ‘I can’t wait to do research!”said Andrew.

Following the lecture, the staff members broke up into small groups to brainstorm ideas for an experiment. Each group also had to formalise their experimental plan. Following this exercise, the groups shared their ideas and helped other groups refine their approaches.

Andrew talks to staff members about their experimental ideas.

The second day focused on how to put together a scientific manuscript. The staff members started this session by examining sections of a typical research paper. The staff then conducted another group activity, where they constructed a research paper based on their experimental ideas from the day before. The class then discussed how to identify appropriate journals and reviewed the submission process. Moreover, they discussed different ways to share research online (ie through blogs, social media, etc.).

On the third day, the group tackled research proposals. In this session, they discussed how to identify appropriate funding opportunities, what should go in a research proposal, and how are research proposals evaluated.

The group has an outdoor session on a sunny day.

In the final exercise of this session, the group discussed the importance of establishing and maintaining a proper research team. Moreover, they talked about how to involve different members of the academic community, how to ensue that the workload is appropriately allocated, and how to ensure that all members are treated with respect.

“It encouraged people to take another perspective and think about the concerns of other members of staff (or even the students) who may become involved in research activities at the University. It gave the academic staff and the “traditional wisdom specialists” an opportunity to brainstorm potential working relationships that might allow traditional wisdom to be shared with a larger audience, but not in a way that compromises their livelihood or any ethical concerns,” said Andrew.

Many thanks to Andrew and Chandni for sharing their thoughts on the second week of classes at ARU. To stay up to date on our lecturers, please follow our blog.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *