SEARCA's Education and Collective Learning Department (ECLD) conducted an Online Training on Research Methodology and Data Analysis on 22–26 January 2024, catering exclusively to its scholars. This initiative is a component of SEARCA's annual customized capacity-building programs that serve as tools for scholars to complete their academic requirements. Dr. Nur Azura Binti Adam, deputy director for programs at SEARCA, commended the participants for their commitment to skill enhancement despite their heavy academic load. SEARCA emphasized the importance of having adequate knowledge in determining the appropriate research design and methodology, especially since theses and dissertations represent the final scholarly output of graduate students in getting their degrees.
For this training program, SEARCA collaborated with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension (OVCRE) at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, a longstanding technical service provider for the Center's various learning events. Through OVCRE, the collaboration extended to different colleges within UP Los Baños, including the College of Arts and Sciences, Institute of Statistics, College of Development Communication, and College of Agriculture and Food Science, Institute of Crop Science.
Seventeen participants from six Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Indonesia, attended the week-long comprehensive program. These scholars are studying at SEARCA's various study posts, such as Universiti Putra Malaysia, Kasetsart University, National Taiwan University, and UP Los Baños.
The training program aims to help scholars develop a framework for their research, focusing on their objectives/hypotheses with a keen knowledge of the situations/conditions in conducting their research. The program covers a broad spectrum of research methodologies, ranging from foundational quantitative and statistical concepts to qualitative methodology. Additionally, scholars were introduced to the application of R-Software and discussed the design and analysis of experiments, survey operations, nonparametric statistics, categorical data analysis, multivariate statistical methods, impact assessment, and infographics. Besides lectures, the training also provided exercises and coaching sessions from the resource persons to the scholars' respective thesis topics.
Dr. Maria Cristeta N. Cuaresma, the senior program head of ECLD, emphasized that SEARCA's commitment extends beyond academic rigor. The training programs and extracurricular events are curated as supplementary benefits to enhance scholars' overall well-being and facilitate timely graduation. Dr. Cuaresma also congratulated the scholars for taking the time to attend the training and for putting a premium on the knowledge and skills gained from the program —something that will help them have better, bigger, and smarter results for their theses or dissertations.