COORP WORKSHOP ON INNOVATIVE RESEARCH METHODOLOGIES
COORP brings together researchers to strengthen their research work with the facilitation of IDS and support of PERFORM
COORP brought together 25 committed researchers and 2 IDS excellent facilitators for four days to work on research design, methodology and academic writing with the support of PERFORM. With the aim to enhance research capacities in social sciences in Albania through greater rigour in research and particularly innovative methodologies, COORP organised a tailored-made and targeted workshop for young and mid-career researchers from Albania and Kosovo.
The workshop focused on strengthening critical thinking and research design for better research. It was geared towards providing the skills and knowledge required to design research that can be published in high impact journals, be considered for research grants, and be considered during policy decision-making processes.
The workshop provided opportunity for hands on development of participants’ own research proposals. A call for expression of interest was launched and more than 70 applications were received. 25 researchers were selected to participate in the workshop from universities in Albania and Kosovo. The course was 4 days long and was hosted by the European University of Tirana from 7th to 10th November 2017.
Our facilitators for the workshop were colleagues from the Institute of Development Studies of the University of Sussex: Dr Shandana Khan Mohmand and Dr Miguel Loureiro. They both worked very closely with the researchers during the workshop providing guidance and suggestions for their own research proposals. Through presentations and group discussions, including of their own research, participants defined what it means to engage with the research process with critical imagination, and identify the different components of a design-led research study. The facilitators also helped them deal with various kinds of methodologies, particularly mixed methods. Three sessions were also dedicated to academic writing and scientific publication.
When asked about her impressions of the workshop, Dr Shandana Khan Mohmand emphasised that: “I was impressed by the level of awareness of the Albanian researchers regarding the problems and weaknesses of the higher education and research landscape in the country. At the same time they were highly committed and interested in doing something to change the situation. Their commitment in improving their own research work was to me a clear indication that things can change for the better”. Dr Shandana Khan Mohmand highlighted that COORP is a good platform to bring researchers together despite differences. Her recommendation is: “researchers need to find ways and platforms to come together across party lines or politics and universities should work together along thematic areas and facilitate cooperation and networking as well as support researchers’ professional development. The only interest should be the quality and rigour of research as a way to strengthen the entire higher education sector”. Blerjana Bino and Fabjan Lashi discussed with Dr Mohmand and Dr Loureiro on future opportunities of cooperation between COORP and IDS particularly in terms of strengthening research capacities in Albania, improving research methodology curricula in universities and establishing a peer to peer support system on research design and methodology.
Impressions from participants:
Dr Belina Bedini, Head of International Relations and Project Office, University Aleksandër Moisiu, Durrës
“The workshop was really innovative and useful. Personally, I think that all scientific researchers in Albania need to attend such events where they learn, discuss new methods and create links with different researchers for other scientific research projects.
The whole seminar was designed with great care, each session had the theoretical and practical side where each participant immediately applied what he or she had just learned. The debate that followed was even more constructive. This was very interesting because the researcher immediately received feedback on concrete research proposal. Thus, the main idea began to change step by step, taking on a clearer and better research design from a scientific point of view. In fact, the departments and scientific institutes in our country have some limitations in the debate on scientific research, as various scientific papers are only discussed in formal sessions of scientific conferences where time is limited. Meanwhile, in western countries, researchers share their work in periodic discussions. On the other hand, the lecturers of the workshop had prominent professionalism coupled with their exhilarating communication, which led to a four-day seminar to go very fast and very interesting”