The Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA), Anand, Gujarat, India, organized a Management Development Programme on Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods from November 14 to 16, 2019, at its campus. Lenin Venu reflects on this program.
The Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA), an autonomous organization engaged in teaching post-graduate programmes in rural management, located at Anand, in Gujarat, India, organized a Management Development Programme on ‘Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods’ from November 14 to 16, 2019, at its campus. Dr Indranil De and Dr Shyam Singh of IRMA dealt with quantitative and qualitative research methods, respectively. The programme had 20 participants who were lecturers from varied organisations, such as District Institutes of Education and Training, Tamil Nadu; Kerala State Planning Board; ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi; Xavier University, Bhubaneswar; and Sardar Patel Renewable Energy Research Institute, Anand. There were four sessions per day, which means 12 in three days – covering 11 lectures and a field visit. A few of the lectures involved hands-on exercises.
The programme started with a two-page pre-training questionnaire so as to determine the participants’ expectations from the programme. Dr Shyam and Dr Indranil briefed the participants on the programme, and then there was a quick round of introductions.
The first session by Dr Indranil provided an introduction to research – dwelling on its purpose, research designs, measurement, and aspects related to reliability and validity. In the second session he discussed the survey research method, covering major elements, instruments, problems, and contingent valuation method. This session ended with a group assignment on developing research questions.
The afternoon session started with a presentation on case study research comprising its steps and protocol by Dr Shyam. This was followed by another session on interviews and Focus Group Discussion (FGD) covering types of interview, dos and do-not, procedure of conducting an interview and why and when of FGD etc. by Dr Shyam.
Day started with a discussion on the assignment of framing research questions followed by a presentation by Dr Indranil on basic statistical techniques like measures of central tendency and variability. In the following session we practiced the statistical measures in MS-Excel.
After lunch, Dr Shyam dwelt on participatory research appraisal covering various methods with examples. We visited the Anand Milk Union Limited (AMUL) factory which is located in the Anand city. We first watched a video about the history of AMUL which was followed by visit to the production units where milk is cleaned, pasteurized, powdered, prepared butter and packaged.
In the first session Dr Indranil covered hypothesis testing, t-test, correlation, cross tabulation and chi square test and impact evaluation with hands-on practical in MS-Excel. In the afternoon, Dr Shyam explained how to analyze qualitative data and write research reports and recommendations. The training ended with reflections of participants, online feedback survey and certificate distribution.
- The two faculty, one with PhD in Economics and one with PhD in Political Science brought a good blend of quantitative and qualitative research methods.
- The teaching methods included predominantly lecture with PowerPoint presentation, followed by practical with computer and field visit.
- Participants represented five states and from the field of education, planning and research and developed a good network and benefitted from cross learning and future possible collaborations.
- The training programme busted the myth on the need for sophisticated, high-end computer statistical software for doing social science research as many analysis could be done in MS-Excel, which everyone has in his/her personal computer.
- The participants got conceptual clarity of when and how to use various statistical tools and research methods by social scientists
- Mixed approach of teaching two types of research methods, both quantitative and qualitative was very useful.
- Use of Focus Group Discussions, analysis of qualitative data and writing of report and recommendations were systematically taught.
- Participants also learnt about the need to explore different types of research grants and collaborative research opportunities
- Hospitality was of high standard with fully air-conditioned conference, mess and rooms at the same building managed by adequate staff. Quality of food and services were excellent.
Venu Lenin is Principal Scientist (Agricultural Extension), ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)