Written by Mekong Institute
The 5th Regional Research Development and Methodology Training Course was conducted at MI Residential Training Center, Mekong Institute, Khon Kaen, Thailand on 3 to 21 May 2010. The training course was designed and delivered using modular training approach where participants went through three progressive stages: a) Learn to do the participants were provided knowledge on concepts, techniques and tools to be employed; b) Do to learn the participants apply what they learn in their work assignments with proper coaching from assigned advisors; and c) Share to learn participants get an opportunity to present their group works/findings and share their learning experiences and lessons learned.
Upon completion of the three-week training course, all participants developed a research proposal that incorporates the knowledge and skills acquired on problem identification, defining research objectives, formulating research hypotheses and developing a conceptual/theoretical framework. A concrete research plan for the sub-regional research, with accompanying work plan and budgetary requirements, was also prepared.
Twenty government/non-government officers from five GMS countries attended the training course. Two external resource persons were invited to provide lectures and facilitate discussion, and guide the participants throughout the entire process of proposal development. One of the challenges was combining similar research ideas from different GMS countries to come up with a single research proposal. In the end, however, all the participants completed the training course successfully and came up with 9 sub-regional research proposals.
The results of the overall evaluation for this learning program revealed that the participants were highly satisfied with the program contents, resource persons, recreational activities as well as training management and delivery. The sessions of the program were rated as useful by the participants and that their acquired knowledge and skills could be applied in their work. Moreover, throughout the three-week intensive learning course, the participants developed friendships and established network among GMS researchers which is one of the objectives of MI in promoting regional cooperation.
Though the participants were highly satisfied with the learning program, several comments were provided by the participants for further program improvement. These include more hands-on training on SPSS, more time for discussion and proposal writing, and exposure to real-life interview through field work. It was also strongly suggested by the participants that a follow-up training, particularly on data analysis and report writing, should be conducted by MI to fully equip them with knowledge and skills on the entire research process.