On Friday February 26, 2016, School of Oceanographic Studies, Jadavpur University (JU) organised a One Day Workshop on Introduction to Qualitative Research which was facilitated by Dr Colette Mortreux of University of Exeter.
The workshop had 26 participants out of which 16 were female participants. Most of the participants were young researchers who are either pursuing MPhil or PhD degrees from schools and departments of JU. There was also representation from Calcutta University and NGOs like WWF and DRCSC Kolkata.
Colette is a human geographer specialising in qualitative research methods and during her visit to India as a part of the DECCMA consortium to conduct resettlement field visit and interviews, she took time out to conduct this workshop. When multi-country projects function well, such effective exchanges between countries become possible thereby opening portals for knowledge sharing.
The workshop provided an introduction to Qualitative Research based on what it is, its strengths and weaknesses, its theoretical foundations, comparison with quantitative research. The workshop was evenly punctuated with activities which encouraged interactions among the group. The participants felt the interactions helped them to learn better. Adequate stress was laid on choosing the right method of for research design – deciding on the sample size and strategy, which method is best suited for what purpose. This gave ample clarity for the young researchers on the differences between when to use a focus group discussion and when to go for in-depth interviews. The issue of Ethics was discussed as involvement of human participants in research needs informed consent. Procedures for written/oral consent were discussed and ethical considerations during interviews were also laid stress upon.
Role of interviewer, practical tips for interviewing, tactfully combating challenges during the interviews and focus groups, how to make the respondents feel comfortable and ideas for group activities were shared.
Following the in-depth guidance on data collection, the workshop then steered towards the analysis of data and use of software to aid the analysis.
Lastly, the communication of findings was discussed and the workshop was summarised.
As a concluding activity, DECCMA brochures were distributed among the participants and a small talk was given on DECCMA’s research areas and objectives.
The workshop was closed by distributing certificates to all the participants and gratitude was extended to Dr Mortreux for conducting such a fruitful workshop.