Becoming a Researcher: Empirical Research Design and Program Evaluation

On Wednesday, I leave for Nepal, and on Sunday, May 5, I begin teaching a six-day workshop on research methods and program evaluation. I’m excited to begin this journey, which has been in the works for over a year. My thanks again to Cheryl Martin, GVI’s Regional Director for Nepal and India, for her stellar work in helping to organize and plan this workshop. The participant list is hovering around 10 or 15. I’ll be teaching to a variety of organizations in Nepal including Welcome to My Yard, SASANE, and HART.

There are several challenges of designing a research and evaluation workshop for a six-day period. In this program, we’ll exploring both qualitative and qualitative research, as well as research and program evaluation. Typically, these areas are treated separately - each with their own paradigms, traditions, and approaches.

Increasingly, however, researchers across disciplines and applied fields are mixing methods, and the lines between basic and applied research are fading somewhat. I am trying to draw these traditions back together by emphasizing the common stages of research design and the importance of asking good questions. The syllabus includes sessions on:

  • Fundamentals of Research Design

    • Empirical or Scientific Methods

    • Posing Research Questions/Hypotheses

    • Research terminology: Population, Sampling, Selection Bias, Validity

  • Qualitative Methods and Research Design

    • Interviewing

    • Naturalistic Observation

  • Quantitative Methods and Research Design

    • Descriptive vs. Experimental Studies

    • Survey Design

    • Triangulation

    • Internal vs. External Validity

  • Mixed Methods and Experimental Studies

  • Analyzing Your Data

    • Univariate Analysis

    • Bivariate Analysis

    • Inferential Statistics

    • Qualitative Coding

    • Grounded Theory

  • Communicating Your Findings

    • Program Evaluation Reports

    • Research studies

    • Research ethics

This is a participatory workshop, so we will be following the stages of research design; participants will be applying these topics to their own organizations and work.

Stay tuned!