Academic Research Through Learning By Doing

Iftikhar Ahmad, Muhammad Marwat, Habibullah Khan
2013 Gomal journal of Medical Sciences  
Research is a systematic process of learning to understand and solve the problems of life including health and disease. 1,2 Academic institutions are constantly engaged in transfer of knowledge and skills regarding research methodology. 3 Learning by doing is a suitable approach that has occupied a central place in learning research. Health research methodology is more of an active transfer of skills than a passive transfer of knowledge. Workshops on medical writing as offered by many academic
more » ... nstitutions need to focus on transfer of research skills in addition to transfer of knowledge to accomplish the objective of creating a true research culture. Literature strongly supports skill-based learning. 4 Quote-unquote Confucius says "I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand." 5 According to Thad Guldbrandsen, a person who does the work does the learning. Kuan Chung says "Give a man a fish and he can eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he can eat for a lifetime. 6 Budding researchers at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels have the will to learn. A research methodology course should be structured in such a way that the students are able to gain a skill of how research is conducted. 'Learning by Doing' encourages students' involvement in conducting research to attain the goals during their learning curve. Research has four steps; Topic selection & formulation, data collection, data analysis and presen-tation of the findings. 1 After 'topic selection" most important skill to learn for a young researcher is 'topic formulation', which simply means conducting a preliminary mini-research about the topic to develop the problem statement, the pertinent variables, theoretical framework, the sub-hypotheses postulated about the relationships between the variables and research proposal. Once the proposal is approved, the rest of the three steps of data collection, analysis and presentation go according to the plan given in the proposal. Students find their data collection task as the most difficult part of research, forcing them to make compromises due to lack of skill and limited resources. They need to be encouraged during data collection. They should be familiar with softwarebased data analysis programmes like SPSS to workout statistics comfortably. Finally Documentation (or presentation) of a research project needs writing skills which a prospective researcher must learn. Last but not the least, computer and IT skills are the foundations for researcher of today and the key is 'Learning by doing'.
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