Qualitative Action Research Fieldwork Program- Cohort 2.0

Event Report
Reetwika Mallick

The Generation Alpha Data Centre, at IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, conducted Public Policy Qualitative Participatory Action Research Fieldwork Fellowship- Cohort 2.0. An Online National Winter School Program. A Four-Month Online Immersive Qualitative Participatory Action Research Fieldwork Certificate Fellowship from December 2023 – April 2024

Chair & Course Director of the program was Prof Vibhuti Patel, Visiting Distinguished Professor, IMPRI

Convenors of the program were Dr Arjun Kumar Director, IMPRI and Dr Simi Mehta, CEO & Editorial Director, IMPRI .

Day 1:Introduction to Participatory Action Research Methodology

Professor Vijay Raghavan, in the first session of ‘Public Policy Qualitative Participatory Action Research Fieldwork Fellowship Cohort 2.0’ enumerated on the crucial topic of participatory action research and policy influenced research methodology. In the session, Prof. Raghavan explained participatory action research as a qualitative research methodology. The concept of policy influenced research was also dealt with extensively throughout the discussion.

Drawing a link with theoretical and practical application, Prof. Raghavan highlighted some case studies of both participatory action and policy-influenced research. The enlightening talk by Prof. Raghavan was followed by an engaging question and answer session encompassing ethical guidelines to be followed in research studies.

 To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

Day 2: Ethics in Research: Fieldwork & Action Research

The day 2 of the fellowship was led by Dr Amar Jesani on exploring qualitative research dynamics through the lense of ethical insights. Dr. Jesani led a compelling exploration of the role of ethics in research. The eight significant components of the research ethics framework were outlined by Dr. Jesani in the session.

An informed consent in qualitative research studies is necessary since this accommodates participants in the research process and empowers them, Dr. Jesani explained. Privacy and confidentiality and prudent information consumption are two other important factors to be followed in research studies. A significant emphasis was placed on the mandatory ethical review for health research in India.

Challenges in Illegal Activity Research, Collaboration Ethics were delineated by Dr. Jesani. The debate of quantitative and qualitative research was also addressed by the distinguished speaker. Themes like Reflexivity, In-depth Self-Disclosure and Micro Ethics and Ethical implication for staff were extensively discussed by Dr. Jesani. Concluding the session, Dr. Jesani emphasized on holistic ethical landscape in qualitative research.

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Day 3: Fieldwork & Qualitative Research Methods & Questionnaire

Dr. Soumyadip Chattopadhyay through a compelling exploration, significantly elevated the discourse of development research and questionnaire design. Dr. Chattopadhyay comprehensively explored the importance of the right kind of questionnaire design and the possible hindrances. discussed the attributes and framework of a well-designed questionnaire.

The decision-making task of the researcher and ways to arrive at a conclusive method to design a suitable questionnaire was discussed in detail by Dr. Chattopadhyay. Explaining the different types of questionnaire, Dr. Chattopadhyay clarified the advantages and disadvantages of the two sides of the spectrum using various examples. Dr. Chattopadhyay explaining the wordings and sequencing of the questions delineated the attributes of an appropriate questionnaire to be prepared for fieldwork surveys. Dr. Chattopadhyay sharing a sample questionnaire reiterated the need to design the questionnaire on lines of research questions.

 To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

Day 4: Qualitative Research and Reporting

Professor Vibhuti Patel’s engaging session highlighted on navigating qualitative participatory action research and reporting. The session comprehensively dealt with the theoretical backdrop of research studies,  stressing the importance of considering the humanistic, feminist approach and inductive methods. The critical discourse analysis of research studies was explained by Prof. Patel. The session emphasized the two-way nature of learning and imparting knowledge.

Delineating the methodological considerations in qualitative research, Prof. Patel highlighted  the importance of personal involvement, verbal and non-verbal cues and conversational analysis in fieldwork.

The application of qualitative research in crucial studies of communal bifurcation, sexual violence, sovereignty of water, and the political economy of water was comprehensively explained by Prof. Patel. Intersectionality, Prof. Patel underlined as a significant component of research studies, especially in fieldwork based research. The session concluded with Prof. Patel underscoring the importance of a multi-dimensional study of the research subject.

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Day 5: Qualitative Fieldwork Research Case Studies

Professor Gummadi Sridevi set the tone for day 5 of the fellowship by unearthing insights of qualitative research study. The session commenced with the significance of transdisciplinary or interdisciplinary approaches to addressing complicated challenges. Prof. Sridevi enumerated the methods of qualitative research studies underlying the importance of fieldwork based research.

Prof. Sridevi in the session introduced several compelling examples of case studies for understanding the nuances of qualitative research studies. Crucial areas of research including poverty and programs of eradicating poverty were delineated in the session by the distinguished expert. Concluding the session, Prof. Sridevi underlined the importance of fieldwork providing the researcher a comprehensive understanding of public policy framework in the area of research.

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 Day 6:Fundamentals of Qualitative Data Analysis 

Day 6 of the fellowship program commenced with Prof. Utpal Kumar De’s comprehensive lecture on understanding the fundamentals of qualitative data analysis. Identifying the diverse occupational backgrounds of the participants, Prof. De suggested different suitable models and methods for the participants. In the session, the distinct methods of qualitative and quantitative research was discussed by Prof. De.

Prof. De enumerated the qualitative data analysis methods through various examples of research studies conducted. The concept of regression analysis in qualitative research studies was also delineated by the esteemed speaker. Prof. Vibhuti Patel, the chair for the fellowship, summed up the session highlighting the importance of quantifying the qualitative research to ensure representability of the qualitative research.

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Day 7: Action Research, Policy and Impact: A Bureaucrat’s Experience

Dr Purnima Chauhan addressed the profund issue of action research, policy and impact through a bureaucratic perspective for day 7 of the fellowship program. The session highlighted upon the unification of research and public policy. Several scholarly viewpoints, including Scott Gould’s seven levels of participation were delineated by Dr. Chauhan while discussing methods of participatory action research.

Dr. Chauhan under;ined research as a continuous process that aids in assessing the effectiveness of a policy. Technological advancements in data collection have immensely improved research in assessing public policy implementation, Dr. Chauhan explained. Dr. Chauhan enumerated the need of research both before implementing a project and after implementation in order to realize the goals of public policies. Concluding the session, Dr. Chauhan shared several successful cases of amalgamation of research studies and public policies.

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Day 9: Computing, Technological and AI Skills for Researchers

Artificial intelligence tools in research studies was addressed by   Prof. Prabhu Ponusamiji, on day 9th of the program. The significance of artificial intelligence along  with the essential skills required to leverage AI effectively in research methodologies was discussed by Prof. Ponusamiji in the session.

AI as a tool to extract crucial information from vast sources of available data was enumerated by the esteemed guest. Utilizing AI at various stages of research study including- summarization, referencing, writing and analyzing of the research work was untangled by Prof. Ponusamiji. In essence, while these data analytics tools offer immense potential for enhancing research outcomes, Prof. Ponusamiji highlighted the importance of selecting tools that align with specific research needs and objectives. Concluding the session, Prof. Ponusamiji encouraged participants to explore and experiment with AI tools to enhance their research endeavors.

 To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

Day 10: Career for Researchers & Publications

Dr. N Manimekalai led day 10 of the program on careers in public policy for the aspiring researchers. Explaining public policy and the role of research in public policy, Dr. Manimekalai laid down the possible employment opportunities for the aspiring researchers. Dr. Manimekalai also discussed ways in which the desired outcome of research studies on public policy can be achieved.

The skills that the aspiring researchers must possess to build a career in public policy were underlined by Dr. Manimekalai in the session. The role that the researchers play by linking the stakeholders of public policy was discussed in detail by the esteemed speaker.

Following an enlightening discussion by DR. Manimekalai, Ms. Vaishali Singh unraveled the stages of writing a research article. Discussing each stage in detail, Ms. Singh explained the approaches to be adopted from selection of topics to choosing the appropriate publisher for publishing the research work. The session concluded with an engaging discussion on various procedures of undertaking research article writing.

  To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

Day 11: Valedictory Session

On day 11,  Prof Mukul Asher addressed the session on enhancing policy impact through research by bridging theory and practice. Prof. Asher elaborated on the program’s focus on public policies, qualitative participatory action research, and the vital role of fieldwork fellowship. Prof. Asher acknowledging the need for rigorous analysis for meaningful policy impact referred to scholar Sridhar Vembu’s insights of India’s research landscape.

Prof. Asher outlined the various stages of a qualitative research work additionally emphasizing the significance of independent qualitative research work and collaborative with quantitative works. The true learning, according to Prof. Asher, would be adopting inclusiveness and sensitivity in conducting research. The session delved into the significance of research methodology, data literacy, and numerical competence, particularly in the era of artificial intelligence. The session ended on a pragmatic note of continuing skill acquisition in undertaking research studies. 

 To read a more elaborate session report: Click here

Acknowledgment: Written and posted by Reetwika Mallick , intern at IMPRI.


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