Since the beginning of 2017, Sultan Qaboos University’s Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Postgraduate Studies and Research (DVC-PSR) has been organizing a series of workshops and training sessions that focus on a variety of research topics and research-related skills. These events have covered a diverse range of topics, including academic writing and publishing, increasing faculty and university research visibility, research methodology and analysis, academic English skills, and using software to enhance research.
In February 2017, the DVC-PSR Office organized a workshop series entitled “An Introduction to Research and Writing in the Humanities and Social Sciences”. The workshops, facilitated by Dr. Christopher Denman, a researcher from the DVC-PSR, offered a practical introduction to research and writing for novice researchers in the humanities and social sciences with a specific focus on the Omani context. The workshop series offered participants practical experience with designing, implementing, and reporting research, in addition to a theoretical orientation to the nature of research in the humanities and social sciences. Participants were encouraged to discuss a number of important areas that researchers and other scholars should be aware of in their fields, and examined such topics as data collection and analysis techniques, writing research proposals, putting a dissertation and research paper together, and steps for getting published.
This was followed in December 2017 by a series of workshops that explored practical actions that SQU staff and faculty can take to increase the university’s research visibility. These were delivered by Dr. Denman and Dr. Sunayana Nandagopal, from the DVC-PSR Office. These workshops covered a number of areas, including individual steps that SQU faculty and staff can take to help enhance the university’s Scimago Institutions Rankings, increasing research visibility through self-archiving, funding opportunities for researchers at SQU, and important considerations when publishing academic work. The workshops were attended by university faculty, administrators, researchers, and staff from across SQU’s colleges, deanships, and research centres.
These workshops have been complemented by training sessions that started during the same period and that focused on the research and academic English skills of the university’s research centre staff. These sessions, which were developed based on the workshops held in February, are being conducted by Dr. Denman, and seek to encourage research output among trainees in terms of academic papers and conference presentations by building proficiency in the core language skills needed to confidently engage in academic exchange.
Following the success of these workshops and training sessions, the DVC-PSR Office arranged a workshop series on research methodology and analysis in January, 2018. These workshops, which were again facilitated by Dr. Nandagopal and Dr. Denman, offered an examination of various aspects involved in conducting research that was aimed at new researchers. Topics covered in these workshops included an overview of the nature of research, common data collection and analysis techniques, and the use of data analysis software. The workshops were attended by a diverse audience which included SQU faculty members, researchers and research assistants, technical staff, and postgraduate students.
These are set to be followed by a workshop in April conducted by Prof. Dr. Naeema H. Jabur Razzouki from SQU’s Department of Information Studies at the College of Arts and Social Sciences. This workshop is entitled, “Managing references and bibliographies using Mendeley: Practical tutorial” and has been jointly organized by the DVC-PSR Office and the College of Arts and Social Sciences as part of the “Increasing Research Visibility at SQU” series. The workshop will offer a hands-on experience with using the free reference program Mendeley to manage references and biographies, and will focus on such areas as data entry, reading and citing texts, and online work collaboration. It is targeted at all faculty, researchers, and staff at SQU who are involved in research and who would like to learn more about how Mendeley can be used to facilitate their investigative work.
Dr. Rahma Al-Mahrooqi, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Postgraduate Studies and Research, stated that, “The workshops and training sessions are one way in which the Office of the DVC-PSR, in collaboration with the university’s various units and departments, seeks to encourage and enhance research-related activity at SQU. By targeting a diverse audience drawn from across the university, we hope that these events will help both broaden and deepen the research culture not just in SQU but also across Oman.”