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Research methods courses at the National University of Rwanda: Overview and evaluation of the current situation in terms of organization and teaching By.

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Presentation on theme: "Research methods courses at the National University of Rwanda: Overview and evaluation of the current situation in terms of organization and teaching By."— Presentation transcript:

1 Research methods courses at the National University of Rwanda: Overview and evaluation of the current situation in terms of organization and teaching By Callixte Gatali & Jean Claude Barihuta May 31 st, 2005

2 Introduction Institutions in Africa must develop new ways of teaching with tools that can be adapted to the training needs of African scholars so that they can re-oriented their students to: think creatively, value team work and partnerships, recognize that they belong to a global world, and that whatever they do, should contribute to the improvement of the welfare of African’s people… (Professor Adipala Ekwamu, 2004).

3 Goal of Research methods (1) Understand and evaluate the research of others (2) Plan and conduct original research with a minimum of assistance

4 University research methods curricula have to provide students with : (i) Skills in problem identification, (ii) Understanding of research methods principles, (iii) Experience in how these have been applied in diverse settings, (iv) Imagination to apply them to new and complex problems and (v) Confidence to practice the art of research design (Coe, 2003)

5 National University of Rwanda (NUR) as a high learning institution public high learning institution w/7,800 students enrolled in 2005 biggest university in the country created in 1963 conjointly by the Rwandan gvt & the Congregation of the Dominicans from the Province of Quebec (Canada).

6 National University of Rwanda (NUR) as a high learning institution (cont’d) Faculty of Agriculture Faculty of Arts & Humanities Faculty of Education Faculty of Law Faculty of Medicine Faculty of Sciences and Technology (FST) Faculty of Economics, Social Sciences and Management

7 National University of Rwanda (NUR) as a high learning institution (cont’d) Three schools: School of Journalism &Communication School of Public Health School of Modern Languages.

8 Mission of the National University of Rwanda Providing teaching at a higher level, Organizing scientific research, Providing service to the community, Promoting culture ( Culture comprises both traditional and modern aspects by the fact that it increases technological and scientific knowledge in such domains as Sciences, Technology, Arts)

9 The Research Commission at NUR The Research Commission of NUR deals w/ the organization of Scientific Research within University It is composed of permanent members, faculty and school’s representatives in charge of research in their respective units It set up a research policy at NUR whose objectives are the following:

10 General objectives/goals of scientific research at NUR To raise the level of knowledge of its lecturers and students; To integrate modern science and technology in the Rwandan culture (ICT); To make of science and technology levers of the economic, social and cultural development; To contribute to the advance of science by taking part in the production of new knowledge.

11 Specific objectives To favor Research Development in all the theoretical and technical fields of knowledge; To search for and propose suitable endogenous solutions and integrated to problems and challenges of the socio-economic development of the country; To encourage and facilitate innovation as regards scientific research; To promote the use of research results

12 Teaching Research methods at the NUR Research methods courses at NUR are taught at both undergraduate and graduate levels Goal: provide students of skills with enquiry, experimental design, data collection, measurement and analysis, interpretation and presentation

13 Teaching Research methods at the NUR (cont’d) Covered topics : Selecting a problem, Reviewing the literature on the problem, Designing the research (methods to be used, what data will be gathered, where, how and from whom), Collecting the data,

14 Teaching Research methods at the NUR (cont’d) Covered topics (cont’d) Analyzing the data, Interpreting the findings and stating conclusions & recommendations, and Reporting results.

15 Teaching Research methods at the NUR (cont’d) Major research methodologies may differ from one Faculty to another Quantitative data (numerical data) vs Qualitative data ( not numerically coded for analysis) Methods of data collection: Experimental research, observation, interviewing, surveying, corelational research, document and content analysis, ethnography, case studies, focused interviews, historical research, etc.

16 Teaching Research methods at the NUR(cont’d) Basic research vs. Applied research ( Country Poverty Reduction Strategy as well as its “Vision 2020” )

17 Example of RM course at the Faculty of Agriculture BIOM : Biometrics and research methods (3 credits, 60hr) Objective: at the end of the course, the student will be able to conceive, plan, present and defend a research project according to the guidelines of academic research.

18 Example of RM course at the Faculty of Agriculture (cont’d) BIOM : Biometrics and research methods (3 credits, 60hr) (cont’d) Course content: selecting a research topic; How to defining research questions; Literature review; Hypothesis and research variables; Methodology and experimental design; Data analysis; Reporting research findings

19 Example of RM course at the Faculty of Agriculture (cont’d) Teaching methods include: Lecture Reading assignments Oral presentation Class discussion Class project

20 Gaps in research methods courses and carrying out academic research at NUR (1) Students are not skilled for writing research grant proposals (2) A growing number of graduates in all Faculties hinder their supervision (3) Ethics of research is mentioned in the NUR Scientific Research Policy, But NUR has no requirements, neither committees nor guidelines for gaining ethics approval

21 Gaps in research methods courses and carrying out academic research at NUR (cont’d) (4) Laboratories are still insufficient and not well equipped for research (5) Weak linkages and networking with other universities and Funding agencies in the region and in Africa. (6) Vision for the future of education : poverty reduction issues, environmental sustainability, identify longer-term needs and goals

22 Gaps in research methods courses and carrying out academic research at NUR (cont’d) (7) Some lecturers and students may feel uncomfortable with mathematics and statistical analysis (8) Lack of strong linkages between research, education and rural development programs » participatory approaches (9) Participatory approaches in conducting on- farm field research need to be emphasized too. ( 10) Insufficiency of founds for student’s field research

23 Recommendations Update research methods teaching curricula and provide lecturers and students with reference research tools Provide lecturers with short-courses in research methods Provide lecturers and students with skills in Research Grant Writing

24 Recommendations (cont’d) Strengthening linkages and networking with other Universities and Funding Agencies in the region and worldwide Endogenous, qualitative and quantitative, participatory and formal data collection methods must be combined in some studies to provide both complementary and supplementary perspectives

25 Thank you! MURAKOZE!


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