Research workshops as a prelude to purposeful research
Dr. Adil Amin Bhat
Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad Thaku
New Education Policy - 2020 revealed by Government of India is aimed to bring in sea of changes in structure, approach, and philosophy of education in India. From conventional learning approach it is now geared towards skill and research-based approach. The new approach towards educations in India lays special emphasis on making Indian universities as research hubs while promising some relaxation to the universities on the academic front. Thus India is preparing itself for new challenges and to grab new opportunities while taking new research initiatives and enhancing the capabilities of young researchers through various training programs and workshops.
Toeing the line with the national initiatives while imparting research skills in budding scholars, Department of Commerce, University of Kashmir organized 2-Week Workshop on Research Methodology and Data Analysis in Commerce, Management & Social Sciences from 28th Sept- 11th Oct, 2021. In order to make this workshop comprehensive, fruitful and beneficial for the participants, the best of resource persons were drawn not only from national level but from international level too. Moreover, given the diverse nature and components of research, resource persons were selected on the basis of their expertise to ensure that necessary and relevant knowledge and skills are delivered and imparted among the participants. Participants were also selected from diverse subjects - Commerce, Management, Economics, Education et., so that a diversified platform is created to enable scholars to get insights into other domains and interact with other scholars.
On 28th September, 2021 the workshop was inaugurated by Honorable Vice Chancellor of University of Kashmir, Prof. Talat Ahmad. In his message he emphasized on the need and the importance of producing good research given the advance resources and facilities available to the scholars now. While sharing glimpses of his research journey, Prof. Talat Ahmad reminded participants that research journey is tough but full of excitement and advised participants to be honest and dedicated towards their research work. This will bring long lasting fruits to their academic journey and asserted that there is no shortcut to success. Prof. Nazir Ahmad Nazir, Dean, School of Business Studies, University of Kashmir, graced the occasion with his valuable insights, knowledge and experience; he laid special emphasis on the new initiatives and changes launched in New Education Policy and its relevance and implications for the research community; “the New Education Policy is going to change the whole dynamics of research and you must not only be honest with your research and strive to produce quality research but should also complete your research work within the stipulated timefram” urged Prof. Nazir Ahmad Nazir in his special message. Prof. Mohammad Shafi, Head, Department of Commerce, University of Kashmir & Director of the Workshop, in his welcome address presented his sincere gratitude to all the dignitaries, faculty members and participants for coming and gracing the occasion; and expressed his hope and confidence in the coordination team, the resource persons and the participants for the success of the workshop.
“What are the pre-requisites of identifying research problem?” asked Dr. Nimitha Aboobkar, faculty in DDU Kaushal Kendra, Cochin, while inaugurating technical sessions by deliberating upon the vital and fundamental topic “Identifying Research Problems and Formulating Research Design”; from research acumen to research skills she discussed all rudiments that good researcher must possess. On the next day, Prof. Bhanu Murthy, Delhi Technological University, apprised the participants with the basic terminologies, epistemology and ontology ofthe research and their importance, implications and applicability.
No new knowledge is created in vacuum; every new knowledge can be seen as a layer added to the existing pool of knowledge, therefore, it is imperative for the scholars to dive deep into the sea of existing knowledge and search and choose only relevant portions and ignore irrelevant. However, it needs skills and experience to separate pearls from stones. Dr. Namitha engaged participants on this bed-rock topic of ‘Art of Literature Review’ and shared with participants various sources, methods and techniques of literature review. “Can’t we create our own knowledge without bothering what others have written or said?” asked Mr. Raja Wahid, one of the participants, to which Dr. Namitha replied in her soft-tone “in every art one need to study and imitate masters of that art, particularly in the infancy stage, to learn how things are carried out; and also get aware about what has been written/said in that area so that nothing is written/said what has been already written/said.”
Once scholars become familiar with previous knowledge in the area the next task is to lay foundation of his/her study by formulating assumptions, postulates and hypotheses while getting direction and guidance from existing literature. However, formulating hypotheses is full of complexities and, it sets future course of direction for the research work, thus obscure and misdirected hypotheses leads to obscure and misdirected research output. Prof. Nazir Ahmad Nazir, in his technical session highlighted the various issues, complexities and required skills to develop proper and relevant hypotheses. He acquainted participants about what things one needs to keep in mind while drawing inferences and insights from existing literature towards the process of hypotheses formulation. On the next day, Prof. Khursheed Ahmad Butt, discussed next stage of hypotheses formulation that is hypotheses testing; he imparted scholars with necessary skills about how to choose and use appropriate statistical techniques in hypotheses testing. Towards the end of the workshop Prof. Musadiq Amin Sahaf, Central University of Kashmir, apprised participants with the link between research questions and hypotheses development.
As every step in research is important so is art of drawing relevant sample from vast population; it not only needs patience but relevant knowledge and skills to select and hit on the right target. Prof. Riyaz Ahmad Raniyee, Department of Commerce, University of Kashmir, highlighted and guided scholars to develop bird’s eye while drawing their relevant sample form population. He apart from technical jargons, used examples from day to day life so as to make it easy for the scholars to get familiar with and understand the process of sampling.
Dr. Fawad Latief, faculty at COMSAT University, Islamabad, an internationally renowned scholar and research coach, brought the participants’ exuberance to next level while delivering back
to back seven sessions in consecutive two days on primary data analysis. He covered almost all aspects of primary data analysis from Constituents of Theoretical Contributions, Development of Scale to Factor Analysis. He also engaged scholars on hands-on sessions and guided scholars to use SMART PLS Software; and discussed the importance of mediation and moderation variables in primary research. The last session of the two days intense engagement was taken up by Dr. Ananya Gosh, University of Delhi, in which she discussed the basics of regression analysis and engaged participants in hands-on training session using STATA software.
Econometric Analysis has become central in carrying out the secondary data analysis. Unfamiliarity with various tools and techniques of econometric analysis not only hampers research work of scholars, working on time series and panel data, but also renders their work as sub-standard. Prof. C. P. Gupta, an eminent and renowned scholar from Delhi University, was entrusted the task to discuss not only fundamentals of econometric analysis but also engaged participants in hands-on training session. He delivered extensive sessions on OLS and MLS methods. Prof. Gupta’s session was followed by session on Time Series Analysis by Dr. Narain from Delhi University; he discussed various assumptions of time series analysis, demonstrated how to carry various tests in time series analysis and also explained how to draw inferences from these tests. Mr. Sartaj Hussian, Department of Commerce, University of Kashmir, also elaborated on econometric analysis and engaged participants in fruitful hands-on training sessions using STATA software; he also made participants understand how to analyze the properties of data and why it is vital to know properties of data? Prof. JiJo Lukose, IIM Kozhikode, extensively discussed the Endogenity in Empirical Corporate Finance and Prof. Golaka C. Nath, XIM University Bhuneshwar, deliberated on “Impact of Covid Pandemic: A Cross Country Analysis”.
Every research is incomplete and unknown until it is not presented before the intended audience in lucid and clear language and form, thus writing a good research report is as imperative as carrying out quality research. To fill this vital gap, Dr. Namitha were entrusted with the job to acquaint participants with the process of writing good research reports and papers. She not only discussed whole process lucidly but also shared her experience as editor of various reputed journals and made participants aware about the various undercurrents of getting published in good journals. Prof. Mohid-ud-din Sangmi, Dean College Development Council, University of Kashmir, interacted with the participants in unorthodox approach and reiterated Dr. Namitha’s message that outcome of the research must find place in the journals of repute to carry weight and appreciation. Prof. Abdul Ghani, Central University of Kashmir, summed the whole philosophy of research in an innovative description of “Research Onion”.
Prof. Mohmmad Shafi displayed his tireless energy throughout the workshop. Apart from interacting with participants on daily basis he also delivered few fruitful sessions on vital topics like Stock Market Research through Technical Analysis using Fibonacci Retracements. He discussed how Fibonacci mathematical model can be used in predicting stock market prices. In another session conducted on the last day of the Programme, he demonstrated how Revealed Comparative Advantage (RCA) is computed in Foreign Trade for imports and Exports. He also demonstrated the Properties of Compound Annual Ground Rate(CAGR) and its usage in Finance research.
The journey lasted for two weeks and concluded with the valediction programs on 11th Oct 2021; it was presided by Prof. Mohid-ud-Din Sangmi while as Dr. Nisar Ahmad, Registrar, University of Kashmir, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.
Dr. Sabiya Mufti and Mr. Sartaj Hussain did a commendable job as coordinators throughout the workshop from assimilating physical resources and coordinating resources persons for the workshop. They managed the dais impeccably on inaugural and valedictory sessions. Er. Kaisar Rasheed provided the technical expertise and support. Office of the department played a key role in successfully conducting and completing the workshop. The workshop officially concluded with the vote of thanks presented by Dr. Sabiya Mufti.
Dr. Adil Amin Bhat & Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad Thaku, Co-Coordinators of the Workshop
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.