SEARCA empowers scholars with training in research methodology, data analysis

THE University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB)-based Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture's (SEARCA) Education and Collective Learning Department (ECLD) conducted an online training on research methodology and data analysis for its scholars on Jan. 22 to 26, 2024.

SEARCA Director Glenn Gregorio said 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, SEARCA deputy director for programs, commended the participants for their commitment to skill enhancement despite their heavy academic load.

Nur said it is important that there is 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.

Gregorio said SEARCA collaborated with the UPLB Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension (OVCRE) for the said training program.

He said OVCRE is a longstanding technical service provider for SEARCA's various events and through it, the collaboration extended to different colleges within UPLB 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.

During the training, 17 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 UPLB.

"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," Gregorio said.

He noted that the program covers a broad spectrum of research methodologies, ranging from foundational quantitative and statistical concepts to qualitative methodology.

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.

The training also provided exercises and coaching sessions from the resource persons to the scholars' respective thesis topics in addition to lectures.

Dr. Maria Cristeta Cuaresma, SEARCA ELCD senior program head, said 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," Cuaresma said, congratulating the scholars for taking the time to attend the training and for putting a premium on the knowledge and skills gained from the program.

"[This] is something that will help them have better, bigger and smarter results for their theses or dissertations," she added.