by Dr Susan Mathew
NASHIK, MAR 7, 2017: For 20 Brothers at Divyadaan, the Salesian Institute of Philosophy, Nashik, it was a change from their routine classroom sessions as they underwent a two- day training programme in social research methodology. The course content designed to cover core areas in social research was handled by Dr Susan Mathew of Don Bosco Research Centre, Mumbai on February 22 and 23.
Prior to the commencement of the sessions, Father Banzelao Teixeira, principal of Divyadaan, spoke about the importance of social research and its relevance in their curriculum as well as in their areas of work. Session one on the first day began with an introduction to social research methodology which touched upon meaning, characteristics, process, types of research and sampling methods. The second session dealt with the development of appropriate tools for collecting primary data from the field for quantitative as well as for qualitative studies.
This was followed by a briefing on methods of data collection. In order to gain field experience in collecting data, the brothers were divided into groups, assigned topics, designed appropriate tools and later moved to the field to gather information from the study population as per the topics assigned to each group. Topics for group field study included: use of social media among college students, impact of demonitisation on vendors, socio-economic profile of workers at Divyadaan and living conditions of migrant slumdwellers.
After the field work, one representative from each group made a presentation wherein they shared the research problem, research design, major findings, conclusion, recommendations and field experiences. Each group came up with interesting findings and challenges they faced during data collection. Discussion based on the fieldwork presentations helped the brothers to understand the methodological flaws in their studies and how to overcome the same for future research.
Evaluation of data and report writing was methodically presented to the brothers enabling each one of them to document a research report based on the topic given for field study. Marks were allotted to individual reports based on the content and presentations. On the second day, an analysis of problem and objective tree was done to widen the students' perceptions on how to identify research problems, go into their root causes, and establish immediate and higher effects. The concluding session highlighted the ethical considerations a researcher has to keep in mind while conducting any social research.