Center for Regional Studies (CRS), School of Social Sciences, University of Hyderabad, organized a 10 days ‘Research Methodology Course (RMC) for M.Phil/Ph.D./PDF Scholars in Social Sciences’ sponsored by the ICSSR, New Delhi, starting from the 9th to 18th July 2019. From an extremely competitive pool of around 480 applications received from all over the country, 33 scholars were finally selected. These participants came from 26 different universities, 22 different disciplines of Social Sciences and from the different States of India.
Prof. P. Venkata Rao, Dean, School of Social Sciences, chaired the Inaugural Session. The eminent Social Scientist Prof. Virginius Xaxa, Visiting Professor, IHD, Delhi and Prof. Appa Rao Podile, the Vice-Chancellor, graced the inaugural function with their presence. Professor Xaxa spoke about the Recent Trends in Research on Tribal Issues. The Vice-Chancellor took a lead while explaining the importance of quality aspects in research. Professor Sheela Prasad, Head, CRS, explained the importance of exclusivity and how their center is doing just that and focusing on region-specific studies. The Course Director, Dr V. S Rao, gave the welcome address and briefed the participants about the RMC.
This Research Methodology Course had a well chalked out plan for 10 days and it was made sure by the Course Director that all aspects of Research Methodology for Social Sciences are covered in this. Sessions were organized keeping in mind the two broad methods of Research in Social Sciences – Quantitative and Qualitative Methods. The resource persons for this RMC came from varied backgrounds like Anthropology, Folk Cultural Studies, History, Sociology, Political Science, Economics, Media Studies, Management, Education as well as Regional Studies. The Founder and Director of Centre for Human Security Studies, MCR-HRD Institute of Telangana, Dr K. Ramesh Babu also opened a very insightful window into the world of Think Tanks in Social Science Research. Dr. Sujit Kumar Mishra from the Council for Social Development (CSD) detailed the participants about the various tools to be used for primary and secondary data collection.
Dr N. Varatha Rajan, Head Librarian, IGM Library, UoH took a very important session dedicated to Plagiarism and how to prevent it in academic writings. This is an urgent need of the hour because UGC has now reduced the similarity limit to 10% therefore, research scholars need to be uber careful while writing their thesis and dissertations.
Sessions on Schedules and types of Interviews, Case Study Method, Focused Group Discussion, Content Analysis, Ethnography, Ethnohistory, Sampling, Observation and Report writing covered a large number of research topics of the participants.
The RMC participants along with Dr V. S. Rao, Course Director, and Dr Soumya Vinayan, CSD, went to Bhoodan Pochumpally village for their field visit on the 13th July 2019. This village is also known as the ‘Silk capital of India’. Here the participants were divided into 4 groups which were then involved in data collection from the individual weavers as well as the master weavers. On the 17th July, all 4 groups gave a presentation in front of the Course Director and Dr. G. Nagaraju which was a very interactive and fruitful session.
Dr G.C. Pal, Director, IIDS, New Delhi, spoke about the idea of Triangulation in Quantitative and Qualitative Research and also about Data Visualization in Social Science Research. He emphasized on the importance of using more than one methods in one’s research and also complimenting quantitative methods with qualitative techniques. Prof. B. Raja Shekhar from the School of Management Studies took the much-awaited class on Rating Scales and Correlation and Regression. There was a dedicated session for training in SPSS which involved hands-on experience. On the last day of the RMC, the entire cohort visited MCR-HRD Institute and the Centre for Human Security Studies (CHSS) and had interactive sessions on various research areas with IPS and IAS officers. Sri. B. P. Acharya, Director General, MCR-HRD Institute of Telangana, and Special Chief Secretary to Govt., interacted with the participants on various social science research issues.
Overall, this Research Methodology Course did what it aimed to do. The participants benefitted a great deal from the experienced resource persons and their interactive and helpful classes. Prof. Gopal Reddy, ICSSR Observer, interacted with the participants during the course. While delivering the concluding remarks in the final session of the RMC, Prof. Sheela Prasad, Head, CRS, advised the participants to incorporate the learnings in their respective research works.
A Few Feedbacks from the Participants
Vinay Shankar from BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus, felt that those who are stuck or confused about their research direction, this RMC can help to put those back on track.
Madhushree Lahiri from TISS, Tuljhapur, was of the opinion that this RMC has been of great use to her in learning, unlearning and relearning a lot of things surrounding research. She felt that Quantitative methods were discussed in great detail and some more time could have been allocated for quantitative methods as well.
Kishore Kampa from Acharya Nagarjuna University said that he benefitted a lot from this Methodology Course held in UoH. He feels that he learnt a great deal in these 10 days which he had never known in spite of being in the field of research for over 3 years.
Deepak S Mewada from H.N.B Garhwal University liked the diversity of the students as well as the resource persons. For him, the highlight of this course was Prof. Aparna Rayaprol’s session on Feminist Research Methodologies as he felt that it was quite unique and that he has never attended a class that takes this approach to research. He even benefitted a lot by Prof. Usha Raman’s class on content analysis.
Joshua from the University of Hyderabad felt that this was the best RMC he could be a part of. He was very impressed by the time management and the list of topics that were covered. His personal favourite was the classes on Triangulation, Feminist Approaches to Research Methodology and the one on case study method.