Participating in a Research Focused Capacity Building Workshop
As the Project Coordinator for This Life’s Capacity & Partnership Development Team, I was fortunate to register and be selected to participate in a capacity-building workshop, focusing on research methods and fieldwork.
This week-long course was held in Battambang Province and led by a collaboration of academics from the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP). Researchers, Ph.D. students, and lecturers from the Royal University of Phnom Penh, University of Svay Rieng, University of Heng Samrin Thbongkhmum, Chea Sim University of Kamchaymear, and the National University of Battambang also participated in the workshop. As such, it was a great opportunity to network and make new friends and connections.
The objective of this week-long workshop was to improve participants’ research skills, confidence, and knowledge. The group used the wider context of social transformation in Cambodia as experienced by Cambodian individuals and groups, as a means to explore and develop prospective research ideas. In this sense, the workshop highlighted and examined existing research that had evolved from contemporary social science literature and the humanities.
From the outset, professors from abroad and coordinators from RUPP explained anthropological methods for exploring data, such as observation, interview, and participant observation. Some of the professors’ shared their experience of conducting qualitative research in Cambodia, and those who had experience and had adopted an ethnographic approach were invited to share their experiences and practical ideas regarding research design, methods, data collection instruments as well as the practical skills needed to gain access, enter and be accepted within the fieldwork environment. Other elements included capturing field notes and assembling evidence.
During the workshop, I learned about the philosophy of research and gained knowledge about the variety and range of theoretical and conceptual frameworks.
The workshop introduced participants to a discussion on positivism, anti-positivism, and postmodernist theories, using distinct examples of Cambodian development. The workshop leaders illustrated the range of methods that researchers can use for qualitative exploration, according to the context and nature of the research issues. We were also introduced to data collection instruments that help complement the research approach.
Thereinafter, all participants were required to conduct field visits and interview villagers based on their ideas and methodological preferences. Participants were then required to write up their notes accordingly.
Practical tips on personal and fieldwork preparation helped me appreciate the range of skills involved in research activity. I also developed a deeper understanding of how to take notes, accurately and discretely, from within the field, using qualitative methods. This provided me with a useful introduction to drafting abstracts for conferences paper and peer review submissions.
On the last day of the workshop, participants learned about writing abstracts or concise introductions to a piece of research. All participants had to redraft an abstract based on the field visits. The participants utilised their field notes and were able to produce new, concise and comprehensive abstracts, that communicated the nature of the research to the reader.
On reflection, I hope that this learning exchange can help me support and build more conducive partnership-based relations with local stakeholders. This Life has, via the ILE Section, an exciting and evolving working relationship with Dewey International University in Battambang. As such, I am optimistic that we can help support, influence, and develop a range of new research-based opportunities together in these provinces.
As a result of the workshop, I can see a lot of advantages in promoting and conducting research and using it to inform future development decisions that help support local communities. In addition, I can see the development of a network of researchers also adding value to the local economy. Ideally, this can result in more published research, about important issues that affect this special part of the Kingdom of Cambodia
Project Coordinator – Capacity & Partnership Development Team
Impact, Learning & Effectiveness (ILE)
Mobile: +855 (0)92 759 769/ (0)88 258 7080
Office: +855 (0) 63 966 050