A ten-day intensive research methodology course on “Quantitative Methods and Women’s Studies” was held at the University of Hyderabad from March 18th to 28th, 2024. The workshop aimed at equipping research scholars with advanced quantitative research skills specifically applicable to gender-focused research. This program was sponsored by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and was jointly organized by the Centre for Women’s Development Studies, New Delhi, and the Centre for Women’s Studies, University of Hyderabad. This collaboration ensured expertise in both women’s studies and research methodologies. The workshop benefitted from the expertise of eminent resource persons from across the country. These scholars provided participants with in-depth knowledge and practical guidance on applying quantitative methods to women’s studies research. Thirty research scholars drawn from universities across India attended the workshop. This diverse group of participants fostered a rich learning environment where scholars could share their research experiences and challenges related to doing quantitative research in gender studies.

The ten-day workshop commenced on March 18th, 2024, with an inaugural session. Prof. Jyotirmaya Sharma, Dean of School of Social Sciences at University of Hyderabad inaugurated the workshop. The session was chaired by Prof. Manimekalai, Director of Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS), and began with welcome remarks by Prof K. Suneetha Rani, Head of Centre for Women’s Studies (CWS), UOH. This was followed by an introduction to the programme by the course directors Prof Neetha and Prof Manimekalai of CWDS. The inaugural session set the tone for the workshop by emphasising the significance of integrating quantitative research methods in gender studies and critically looking at various data.

Apart from the course directors, Prof. N. Manimekalai and Prof N. Neetha from CWDS, New Delhi, the resource persons included resource persons such as Prof. Padmini Swaminathan, Former Director, MIDS, Chennai, Prof. Kripa Ananth Pur, MIDS, Chennai, Dr. Aparajay, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata, Prof. Sujit Kumar Mishra Regional Director (In-charge), Council for Social Development, Southern Regional Centre, Hyderabad,  Prof. U. Vindhya, Formerly with School of Gender Studies, TISS, Hyderabad,  Prof. E Revathi and Dr. Aparna, Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad, Prof. Gynamudra, Formerly with NIRD and TISS, Hyderabad, Prof. Sunny Jose, Director, GITAM School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Hyderabad, Prof. Sheela Prasad, Former Professor, Centre for Regional Studies, School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad, Prof. Ajailiu Niumai, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion & Inclusive Policy, University of Hyderabad, Prof. B.R. Shamanna, School of Medical Sciences, University of Hyderabad,  Prof.  G Sridevi, School of Economics, University of Hyderabad, Prof. Pushpesh Kumar, Department of Sociology, School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad, Dr. Sneha Banerjee, Department of Political Sciences, School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad from varied disciplinary contexts. The sessions focused on Paradigms and Approaches to Research, Framing Research Questions in Women’s Studies, Importance of Quantitative Methods in Women’s Studies, Spatial Representation of Data, Mixed Methods, Intersectionality in Women’s Studies, Scientific Methods, State Level Secondary Data Sources on Women, Tamil Nadu Household Panel Survey, Gendered Reading of Macro Data Sources -Census & Data on Land Ownership and Title Deeds, Gendered Reading of Macro Data Sources – NSS, Gender and Caste: An Empirical Analysis, NFHS Data – Research studies on women using NFHS data, Transgender Studies and Quantitative Methods, Orientation to Quantitative Data analysis and Writing – Respective research areas of the Participants, Orientation to Digital resources, Quantitative Data and Report Writing. The programme included sessions on introduction to SPSS, intensive hands-on training, a field visit to Shaheen Women’s Collective, Hyderabad, and presentations by the participants.

The workshop participants went for a field visit to Shaheen Women’s Resource and Welfare Association at Old City, Hyderabad. As part of their training in survey method, the course participants conducted a time use survey with the women at the organization. Each participant interacted and filled out the survey questionnaire during the visit. They also interacted with members of Shaheen to understand about their advocacy and training work for marginalized communities.

This practical approach allowed participants to apply their newfound knowledge and gain confidence in using the software. The training covered topics like data input and manipulation, descriptive statistics, cross tabulation, etc. By the end of the course, participants were equipped with the foundational skills to use SPSS for their own research projects.  On the final two days of the program, participants made presentations on their analysis of NFHS data on various topics of their choosing using SPSS. During the presentation, they also presented their field work experience and analysis.

The course concluded with a valedictory function with Prof B.J Rao, the esteemed Vice Chancellor of University of Hyderabad as the chief guest of the occasion. The session was chaired by Prof Manimekalai, Director, CWDS. During his address, Vice Chancellor Prof B.J. Rao emphasized the significance of such intensive workshops in equipping researchers in quantitative skills in women’s studies. The valedictory session was also attended by Prof. Jyotirmaya Sharma, Dean, School of Social Sciences and the course director Prof N. Neetha of CWDS. Prof. K. Suneetha Rani, Head, Centre for Women’s Studies (CWS) presented the closing remarks with a brief report of the programme.

Contributed by Ms. Alice Abraham, Doctoral Student, Centre for Women’s Studies