President Margee Ensign last week kicked off the Graduate Research Seminar Series with a presentation titled “Why do you do research, and where do you begin?”.
Dr. Ensign highlighted eight core foci on the research journey, starting from the conceptual framework which informs the research topic, through to the research questions, the literature review, the research design, data collection, data analyses, interpretation, and findings which then loops back into the conceptual framework with new knowledge.
One of the highlights of the event was a group exercise, in which Dr. Ensign led participants to speedread the article, ‘Women’s education level amplifies the effects of a livelihoods-based intervention on household wealth, child diet and child growth in rural Nepal’ by Laurie C. Miller in the International Journal for Equity in Health. Working in groups of six to ten, participants pointed out the research question, the methodology, and the core findings in the article.
In her discussion of the policy implications of the article's findings, Dr. Ensign noted that research can contribute to knowledge and development by pointing out development challenges and the best ways to mitigate them. Dr. Ensign referenced the Technology Enhanced Learning for All (TELA) project implemented by AUN and how it contributed to new knowledge on how radio and mobile tablets can mitigate the impacts of educational disruption in conflict-affected societies.
In his remarks, the Dean of Graduate School and Research, Prof. Jacob Udo-Udo Jacob, said the purpose of the seminar series is to create a strong research community and culture at AUN and to contribute to the university’s development mission.
"We know we cannot achieve our mission without first creating a vibrant research culture and community. That is why President Ensign's maiden seminar is so important". Professor Jacob added that AUN can contribute significantly to Africa's development through its graduate research programs, adding that no nation has ever developed without first developing a strong research culture.
"So, we are raising the next generation of intellectuals and scholars whose core focus is African development. These are the young men and women who will drive social, technological, and economic change in the continent," Jacob said.
The seminar was attended by 150 research students and faculty, including 40 that joined online via Zoom. Dr. Ensign's presentation was preceded by participants each talking about their research interests and main research questions.
The Graduate Research Seminar series will hold every Thursday at 6 pm this fall semester.