Written by Mekong Institute
The Training Program on Research Methodology was conducted at the MI Residential Training Center, Khon Kaen, Thailand from February 2-29, 2012. The training course is a part of the Mekong Institute New Zealand Ambassador Scholarship (MINZAS) Program under the New Zealand Aid Programme of the New Zealand Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. The training was designed and delivered using a 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 applied what they learned in their work assignments with proper coaching from assigned MI advisors; and c) Share to learn participants got an opportunity to present their group works/findings and share their learning experiences and lessons learned.
Upon the completion of the four-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 their Masters Degree thesis research, with accompanying work plan and budgetary requirements, were also prepared.
Twelve Masters Degree students from four GMS countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand) attended the training course. One external resource person was invited to provide lectures, facilitate discussions, and guide the participants throughout the entire process of proposal development together with three other internal resource persons from MI. The training was conducted in a challenging maner. Each research topic (proposal) has been hotly discussed, corrected, narrowed down and changed. However, at the end of the training program, with the help from MI internal advisors, all the participants completed the training course successfully and came up with a clear research proposal for their Masters Degree thesis.
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 their acquired knowledge and skills could be applied in their Masters Degree thesis research. Moreover, throughout the four-week intensive learning course, the participants developed friendships and established networks 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 them for further program improvement. These comments touched on the limited time for topics/lessions, the English language, data analyzing, group discussions, concrete examples, and field visits.